Thailand’s oldest bank plans to become the majority shareholder of one the largest crypto exchanges in the country after a $536.7-million purchase.
According to a Tuesday announcement, Siam Commercial Bank’s SCB X Group is expected to buy a 51% stake in Thailand-based crypto exchange Bitkub for 17.85 billion baht (roughly $536.7 million) by the second quarter of 2022. The exchange said the deal is subject to approval from the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, and the country’s central bank.
Arthit Nanthawittaya, CEO of Siam Commercial Bank, said the acquisition was based on the growth of businesses in the digital asset space over the last two years and the expected value in the long term. The company hinted at aiming to strengthen and grow the digital asset ecosystem in Thailand.
“Bitkub has reached the point where we have become an important structure in Thailand’s future economy,” said Jirayut Srupsrisopa, founder and CEO of Bitkub. “Bitkub is no longer just a startup. It is becoming necessary infrastructure for the financial industry 3.0 in Thailand.”
Bitkub is one of the few crypto exchanges in Thailand operating with the approval of the country’s SEC. After releasing revised crypto regulations in November 2020, the financial regulator ordered the exchange to suspend services and fix issues regarding outages during periods of high demand. According to data from CoinMarketCap, the exchange had more than $274 million in trading volume in the last 24 hours.
Regulators in Thailand have issued a number of guidelines for individual crypto traders and businesses. In June, SEC officials issued a notice that Thai exchanges were banned from handling meme-based tokens, fan-based tokens, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and exchange-issued tokens. The regulatory body also proposed a set of guidelines in August related to the custody of investors’ cryptocurrency holdings held by digital asset business operators.
Update 11/3/2021: Bitkub achieved unicorn status with a valuation of more than $1 billion after its KUB token price rose by more than 146% in the last 36 hours to reach a price of $2.44.