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Thailand’s KBank Acquires Satang Exchange, Signals Commitment to Crypto Market

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Thailand’s second-largest bank, signaling bullish fervor for blockchain after buying out one of the region’s local crypto exchanges through one of its subsidiaries.

In a Monday filing, Kasikornbank – otherwise known as KBank – revealed that it has acquired a 97% stake in Satang Corporation Co Ltd., which runs a digital asset trading platform, Satang Pro.

Per its website, Kasikornbank boasts assets worth $120 billion in total. Its exchange acquisition was valued at 3.7 billion Baht, worth $103 million USD.

Satang is now pending a rebranding to Orbix Trade Company Limited, reminiscent of the bank subsidiary’s other crypto companies. In March 2022, KBank established “Unita Capital” to invest in digital asset firms, which now include Orbix Custodian and Orbix Invest – a crypto fund manager – among others.

Another of the company’s subsidiaries is Orbix Technology and Innovation, a blockchain infrastructure and development business established for 260 million Baht ($7.2 million USD) in July, according to the filing.

KBank announced a new fund, KXVC, in September to invest in Web3 and AI startups, as established by the bank’s technology arm Kasikorn Business Technology Group. KBank said it would maintain a specific focus on Asia Pacific.

Crypto Regulation in Thailand

Satang Pro stands out as one of the few crypto exchanges in Thailand regulated by the region’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). That said, it faced civil sanctions from the SEC among a handful of other exchanges last year for fabricating trading volumes.

Thailand’s regulatory stance on crypto is mixed: in March 2022, the nation’s Ministry of Tourism banned crypto’s use for payments, mimicking countries like Russia and China.

On the other hand, the government scrapped a 7% VAT on crypto exchange trading last year, and the Ministry of Finance advocated for tax breaks and other incentives for ICO promoters in March.

In August, Thailand also elected the pro-crypto politician Srettha Thavisin as Prime Minister in August. During his time as CEO of real estate giant Sansiri, his firm took part in a $225 million fundraiser for XSpring Capital, a crypto asset manager.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s institutional interest in crypto is growing. Beyond KBank, its competitor – Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) – intended to acquire Thailand’s largest exchange, BitKub, for $500 million in 2022 before unresolved regulatory issues caused them to scrap the deal.