Thailand’s oldest bank recently paid Rs 4,000 crore for a substantial stake in a bitcoin exchange.

While the world argues whether cryptocurrencies are the appropriate path ahead, large financial institutions have begun to invest in them. The most recent, and probably most significant, example is a deal between Siam Commercial Bank and Bitkub.

For a total of 17.85 billion Thai baht (about $536 million), has purchased a 51 percent share in crypto exchange Bitkub. The transaction is currently awaiting regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

Thailand’s oldest bank, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), is backed in part by investments from Thailand’s monarch Maha Vajiralongkorn, the bank’s largest shareholder. The bank stated late Tuesday that it had agreed to buy 51% of Bitkub for 17.85 billion baht (about Rs 4,000 crore).

With a market share of more than 90% in Thailand, Bitkub is the country’s largest crypto exchange operator. According to Fortune, the exchange is now worth over 35 billion baht (around $1 billion) following the bank’s takeover. It’s easy to understand how this deal will go down in history as one of the most significant cryptocurrency acquisitions ever made.

The Bitkub acquisition, according to SCB CEO Arthit Nanthawittaya, would enable the bank “generate fresh value that may expand in the long run.” It also fits nicely with the bank’s goal of becoming a “financial technology group.” SCB X Group intends to enter the cryptocurrency space to “address the changing expectations of consumers” and enter “a new competitive industry that is sprouting up very swiftly in the next 3-5 years,” according to the CEO.

Despite the size of the transaction, it is not the only merger or acquisition that has occurred recently in the bitcoin industry. Bottlepay, a British bitcoin firm, was acquired by New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) for $300 million earlier this week. NYDIG intends to use the acquisition to integrate Bottlepay’s infrastructure into its own platform.

CipherTrace, a major cryptocurrency intelligence business with visibility into over 900 coins, was recently acquired by Mastercard. The financial services behemoth hopes to expand its expertise into the sphere of digital assets, particularly cryptocurrencies, with this announcement.

After denying the viability of cryptocurrencies for far too long, it is evident that financial corporations are slowly being attracted to the realm of cryptocurrencies. Everyone wants a piece of the crypto action now that digital assets have shown their worth over a decade. All that is needed now are regulatory licences for cryptocurrencies to gain widespread popularity around the world.

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