Kasikorn Bank, commonly known as K-Bank in Thailand, has successfully acquired a majority stake of 97% in the parent company of Satang, a crypto exchange that has been active in Thailand since 2017. The transaction, valued at 3.705 billion Thai baht (equivalent to $102.8 million), was executed through K-Bank's newly established subsidiary, Unita Capital. Unita Capital is specifically tasked with investments in companies operating in the digital assets space.
Following the completion of the acquisition, Satang will undergo a rebranding process and be renamed Orbix. This restructured entity will also introduce three additional subsidiaries: Orbix Custodian, Orbix Invest, which serves as a digital asset fund manager, and Orbix Technology, a dedicated blockchain technology developer.
The announcement follows K-Bank's recent launch of a $100 million fund aimed at web3, fintech, and AI, marking their intensified interest in the cryptocurrency sector. Notably, K-Bank's competitor, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), is also making significant strides in the web3 and crypto space.
Udomsak Rakwongwan, a professor at Kasetsart University and co-founder of FWX.finance, a company in which K-Bank has invested, mentioned that K-Bank is striving to offer a comprehensive range of crypto services permitted within Thailand. He added that K-Bank has recently obtained a crypto exchange license and is actively working to secure the remaining licenses required for crypto operations in Thailand. He also pointed out that the Thai market stands out due to its strong institutional support.
In addition to SCB and K-Bank, the prominent Thai energy company Gulf has entered a joint venture with Binance through its Gulf Innova fund, aiming to introduce a regulated, localized version of the exchange to the market.
Rakwongwan remarked, "The cryptocurrency industry in Thailand is gearing up for increased competition as significant players assert their positions. With the owner of Gulf being one of Thailand's wealthiest individuals, we can anticipate shifts in the dynamics. The substantial financial resources and influence these giants possess may present challenges for smaller players in the field."
In a statement relayed to local media outlets, K-Bank expressed its aspiration to secure a substantial 20% share of the cryptocurrency market in Thailand by the year 2024.
Reynolds, S. (2023) Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank Buys Majority Stake in Satang Crypto Exchange for $103M, www.coindesk.com. Available at: https://www.coindesk.com/business/2023/10/30/thailands-kasikorn-bank-buys-majority-stake-in-satang-crypto-exchange-for-103m/ (Accessed: 30 October 2023).