Siam Commercial Bank in Suandok Park, Maharaj Hospital, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 28 April, 2018. nitinut380 / Shutterstock
Thailand’s oldest bank, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), has acquired a majority stake in one of the few licensed crypto exchanges in the country, Bitkub, the exchange said in a blog post on 2 November.
According to the announcement, SCB was able to acquire 51% of the total shares in Bitkub for the price of 17.85 billion baht (around $536 million), giving the bank the controlling stake in the exchange. The deal is yet to be finalized as it is pending regulatory approval, but the exchange expects to complete the transaction by the first quarter of 2022. The founder and CEO of Bitkub, Jirayut Supsrisosopha, said in a statement:
“Bitkub has reached the point where we have become an important structure of Thailand’s future economy. Also known as the Digital Economy, Bitkub is no longer just a startup. But it is becoming a necessary infrastructure for the financial industry 3.0 in Thailand.”
Founded in 2018, Bitkub is one of the few cryptocurrency exchanges to have received a license to operate by Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and is also the largest in the country, having reported trading volumes of more than $30 billion between January and September 2021.
While it is the oldest bank in the country, having served the people of Thailand for more than 114 years, this is not the first time SCB has come in contact with the crypto world. The bank already operates a venture capital unit, SCB 10X, which to an extent has focused on blockchain and DeFi startups, having invested in firms such as Ripple, BlockFi, Alpha Finance, and others.