Thailand’s oldest bank, Siam Commercial Bank, has acquired a majority stake in the country’s largest crypto exchange Bitkub.
- Siam Commercial Bank Securities, a subsidiary of SCB, has purchased 51% stake in Bitkub for approximately US$535.6 million, according to an announcement on Tuesday. The transaction is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory compliance.
- SCB’s investment in Bitkub is motivated by the significant growth opportunities in the digital assets space, the announcement noted. The investment will help SCB further develop the country’s cryptocurrency ecosystem, it added. “SCB Group’s investment in Bitkub … will help the SCB Group create new growth value in the long term amid a new financial world,” said Arthid Nanthawithaya, CEO and chairman of the Executive Committee at SCB Group. “The move is in line with SCB Group’s strategy to upgrade to a financial technology group, meeting new consumer needs and entering a new competitive arena that will emerge very quickly in the next three to five years.”
- This isn’t SCB’s first investment in the digital asset space. The banking group’s venture arm is investing US$110 million in decentralized finance.
- Bitkub, which is licensed by the Thailand Securities and Exchange Commission, reported trading volume of over US$30 billion between January and September of this year, representing a 92% market share. During the same period, Bitkub’s revenue crossed US$98 million while its profit topped US$45 million. “Bitkub is no longer just a startup and is now becoming a necessary part of the infrastructure critical for Thailand’s financial industry 3.0,” said Jirayut Srupsrisopa, Bitkub CEO and founder. “Having brought Bitkub to a very important turning point, we needed to elevate Bitkub to the global level, so we turned to a strong partner like SCB to help us achieve our target faster and more sustainably.”
- Bitkub was in hot water with the Thailand SEC earlier this year after its platform suffered from three outages amid a surge of trading activity, one of which lasted for 16 hours. The SEC subsequently instructed the exchange to shut down for five days and fix its bugs.