In a resounding endorsement of blockchain's potential, Kasikornbank, Thailand's second-largest financial institution, has made a strategic move by acquiring a 97% stake in Satang Corporation Co Ltd., the operator of the region's regulated crypto exchange, Satang Pro. This bold investment, valued at 3.7 billion Baht (equivalent to $103 million USD), signals the bank's enthusiastic foray into the crypto space.
As Kasikornbank sets its sights on crypto, it's important to understand the broader crypto landscape in Thailand. Satang Pro is among the select crypto exchanges regulated by the region's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, it did face regulatory scrutiny last year, along with a few other exchanges, over allegations of inflating trading volumes.
Thailand's regulatory stance on cryptocurrency remains mixed. In 2022, the Ministry of Tourism banned the use of cryptocurrencies for payments, aligning with similar moves in countries like Russia and China. In a contrasting move, the Thai government abolished the 7% Value Added Tax (VAT) on crypto exchange trading, and the Ministry of Finance has been actively advocating for tax incentives and other benefits for Initial Coin Offering (ICO) promoters.
Kasikornbank's entrance into the blockchain realm is not an isolated event. In March 2022, the bank established "Unita Capital" to invest in digital asset firms. This subsidiary has grown to encompass various crypto-related entities, including Orbix Custodian and Orbix Invest, a crypto fund manager, among others.
The bank's ecosystem also includes Orbix Technology and Innovation, a blockchain infrastructure and development enterprise launched with an investment of 260 million Baht (approximately $7.2 million USD) in July. This multifaceted approach positions Kasikornbank as a major player in Thailand's evolving crypto ecosystem.
Kasikornbank's bold acquisition of Satang Corporation Co Ltd. reflects the shifting landscape of crypto in Thailand, where regulatory developments have been met with enthusiastic investment from financial giants. This strategic move by Kasikornbank is not just a financial endeavor; it's a testament to the growing importance of blockchain technology in the world of finance. As Thailand's institutional interest in crypto continues to surge, it's clear that this vibrant landscape is only set to expand further.