Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank, also known as K-Bank, said it has acquired 97% shares in the parent company of Satang crypto exchange, which has operated in the country since 2017.
According to a filing, the deal has a valuation of 3.705 billion Thai baht ($102.8 million) and was done via a new K-Bank subsidiary called Unita Capital, which has a mandate to invest in digital assets companies.
Once the deal closes, Satang will be re-branded to Orbix. The new company will also have three additional subsidiaries: Orbix Custodian, Orbix Invest (a digital asset fund manager), and Orbix Technology, a blockchain technology developer.
“K-Bank is intensifying its efforts in the cryptocurrency sector, positioning itself alongside SCB. They are keen on offering a full spectrum of crypto services permitted in Thailand,” Udomsak Rakwongwan, a professor at Kasetsart University and the co-founder of FWX.finance, which K-Bank invested in, told CoinDesk.
Rakwongwan said that K-Bank recently secured a crypto exchange license and is “actively pursuing the remaining licenses” for crypto in Thailand. He also noted that the Thai market is unique as it has a high level of institutional support.
Aside from SCB and K-Bank, the Thai energy giant Gulf has a joint venture with Binance through its Gulf Innova fund to bring a regulated, local version of the exchange into the market.
“The cryptocurrency business in Thailand is set to become more competitive as major players stake their claim,” he said. “With the owner of Gulf being one of Thailand’s richest individuals, the dynamics are bound to shift. The vast capital and influence of these giants might pose survival challenges for smaller players in the field.”
K-Bank, in a statement provided to local media, said it hopes to capture 20% of the crypto market share in Thailand by 2024.
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