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SCB’s Bitkub deal shows that crypto markets are becoming mainstream for banking

The Thai bank takes a step forward in its strategy to upgrade to a financial technology group.

Photo: Reuters

Five years ago, Siam Commercial Bank CEO Arthid Nanthawithaya announced a plan called 'Going upside down', with digital transformation at its heart. Taking a majority stake in a crypto exchange, as the bank did in November, is probably an even greater inversion of the norm than even he had imagined.

SCB is the original: Thailand’s first bank, established by royal charter in 1907, with King Vajiralongkorn as its single largest shareholder. It is a regular winner of our country awards for its prudent combination of growth and stability, with usually the best ratios and other metrics in the industry.

So for it to buy 51% of Bitkub, Thailand’s leading digital asset exchange, for Bt17.85 billion ($537 million) is a big deal.

To Bitkub founder Jirayut Srupsrisopa, the deal represents an elevation of his business and his industry to the national mainstream

To Bitkub founder Jirayut Srupsrisopa, the deal represents an elevation of his business and his industry to the national mainstream. His company has “become an important part of Thailand’s digital economy infrastructure”, he said in a November 2 statement.

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