Thailand startup Bitkub Capital Group Holdings, founded in 2018, hit unicorn status last month notching up a valuation of over $1 billion. Now the crypto exchange intends to expand over Malaysia, the Philippines, and Laos, aiming to become “the Coinbase of Southeast Asia”, said the chief executive officer Jirayut Srupsrisopa.
The Bangkok-based crypto exchange is aiming for huge growth during 2022 as it looks for the possibilities for partnership in Southeast Asia and setting up its own units, Bloomberg reported. Part of the strategy focuses on monopolizing in countries that lack bigger players, which opens the doors to dominate the field.
Our strategy is to expand in countries that have no clear winners yet and are under-banked, with high social media usage and the potential to use cryptocurrency for remittances, … The expansion will be achieved either through new ventures or acquisitions. The goal is to become the Coinbase of Southeast Asia.
The American company Coinbase Global Inc. is a crypto assets marketplace, and its technology provides a way to build crypto-based applications, among other services. It says on the Coinbase website that they roughly have “73 million verified users, 10,000 institutions, and 185,000 ecosystem partners in over 100 countries trust Coinbase to easily and securely invest, spend, save, earn, and use crypto.”
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The Crypto Unicorn Climbs Up
Last month, Bitkub saw a 24-hour turnover after Siam Commercial Bank Plc bought a 51% stake of the startup for 17.85 billion baht (over $528,8 million), which valued Thailand’s largest crypto exchange at 35 billion baht ($1 billion).
This set Bitkub at the 79th spot within 300 international exchanges worldwide ranked by CoinMarketCap. Its native digital coin almost tripled in value following the purchase announcement.
Jirayut Srupsrisopa claimed back then that “Bitkub is no longer just a startup and is now becoming a necessary part of the infrastructure critical for Thailand’s financial industry.” Now, he plans to climb on top of that thought.
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Although Southeast Asia’s unamicable policies on crypto-assets might represent an obstacle for crypto startups to reach such ambitious goals, Jirayut expects a brighter future in which policymakers and regulators recognize the general embracing of crypto and finally back them, “they can’t avoid it forever” he said.
We have kept on going despite calls from the anti-money laundering agency and the central bank, … Regulations have always followed innovation. The majority of people would have given up because of these regulations. We’re crazy enough to keep going.
Earlier, Bitkub also became one of three Asian platforms to partner with Mastercard to offer crypto credit, debit, and prepaid cards for users and businesses based in the Asia Pacific. This partnership allows users to convert Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into fiat money to make purchases, giving them the “choice and flexibility in how they pay”, said Mastercard’s executive vice president Rama Sridhar.
Jirayut also shared Bitkub’s expectation for a 1,350% growth in revenue in 2021, reaching around 5 billion baht ($148 million).