Guest Post: What a Bitkub unicorn means for Thailand’s startup ecosystem

Guest Post: What a Bitkub unicorn means for Thailand’s startup ecosystem

Bitkub founder and CEO Jirayut Srupsrisopa (left) and SCB chief executive Arthid Nanthawithaya

It seems that hardly a month goes by without Siam Commercial Bank, one of Thailand’s oldest and largest financial institutions, making a gargantuan announcement that shakes the country’s tech and startup ecosystem to its core. Back in September, the bank announced a massive corporate restructuring and plans to raise a US$600–800 million DeFi venture fund. A few hours ago, news broke that the soon-to-be-christened SCBX would be acquiring a controlling 51% interest in Bitkub, Thailand’s largest digital asset exchange, for US$537 million, arguably minting Thailand’s first verifiable unicorn (while there are one or two other Thai tech companies claiming billion-dollar valuations, the Bitkub deal is the only one so far to disclose pricing and valuation information that confirms its unicorn status).

The reaction in the hours since the announcement has been fairly predictable: metaphorical dancing in the streets. Euphoria in the ecosystem, a flurry of posts on social media, and a widespread hope that Thailand’s moment on the regional or even global startup stage has finally arrived. I saw much reason for celebration, but not necessarily for the reasons everyone else may be celebrating.

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