Vantage Point: SCBX reassessing BitKub investment may not be such a bad thing

This weekly newsletter highlights top developments and trends across Southeast Asia’s digital economy and ecosystem, without losing sight of the solid links between the online and offline worlds.

Executive Summary

  • SCBX rethinking its BitKub investment may be a prudent step
  • DANA remains the dark horse of digital payments
  • Astra’s investment in Bank Jasa should come as no surprise

SCBX rethinking its BitKub investment may be a prudent step

SCBX, the holding company of Thailand’s oldest lender Siam Commercial Bank, will reassess its investment in Thai crypto exchange BitKub by extending the due diligence period for the acquisition. The bank had announced that it would acquire a 51% stake in the platform for 17.85 billion baht (537.2 million) in November last year, in a deal that valued the digital asset exchange at $1 billion.

At the time, the acquisition was part of the bank’s restructuring and its push to reallocate capital to grow its exposure to the digital space. Bitkub was just one of the new digital investments aimed at driving future growth for the Group. 

When it was first announced, it was seen as a positive move given the excitement over crypto despite the price tag. However, the crypto space in the country is in for increased competition with Binance announcing plans of setting up a crypto exchange and related businesses in the country in partnership with Gulf Energy Development in January this year.

No timeline was specified for the Binance entry but the JV will seek a digital asset exchange licence and other permits as soon as it gets established. This would almost certainly mean intense competition for BitKub if it were to go ahead.

Bring stories like this into your inbox every day.

Sign up for our newsletter - The Daily Brief
Subscribe to Newsletter