Thailand’s KBank buys local crypto exchange Satang

Thailand’s KBank buys local crypto exchange Satang

Poramin Insom, founder of Satang

In the latest move to ramp up its crypto business, Thailand’s second-largest lender Kasikornbank (KBank) has purchased a 97% stake in Satang Corporation, it disclosed in a filing with the Thai stock exchange on Monday.

Satang Corp, which operates one of the country’s largest crypto exchanges Satang Pro, will be renamed Orbix Trade following the acquisition, the filing said. As of 2022, the company had a 1.25% market share and $475 million in total trading volume behind the likes of Bitkub, Zipmex, and Bitazza, according to CoinGecko.

The buyout of Satang Corp coincides with the establishment of Unita Capital, an investment entity for KBank’s digital asset business, with a registered capital of 3.7 billion baht ($102.8 million).

Unita will have three subsidiaries — Orbita Custodian, Orbix Invest and Orbix Technology & Innovation — which will function as the digital assets custodian, digital assets fund manager, and blockchain infrastructure developer, respectively. Orbita Custodian and Orbix Invest are still in the process of getting a business licence.

The acquisition comes less than two months after KBank launched a $100-million fund targeting artificial intelligence (AI), Web3, and deeptech fintech startups in Asia Pacific.

KBank is, however, not the first Thai corporate to tap the growing digital assets market in the country. In 2021, SCB X, the holding company of Thailand’s oldest lender Siam Commercial Bank, announced that it would enter into a 51% stake acquisition in Bitkub but later pulled the plug in 2022. A portion of Bitkub was in July acquired by Bangkok-listed game publisher Asphere International for 600 million baht ($17 million).

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