Thailand’s second-largest bank Kasikornbank Pcl is said to be developing a digital-asset ecosystem to provide a funding route for companies, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Kasikornbank bought the licensed digital-asset exchange Satang Corp in October as part of the strategy, an unusual instance of an established lender acquiring a crypto trading platform, according to the report. The bank also has divisions focused on blockchain technology and custodial services for virtual tokens.

“We’re advising some clients to issue tokens for fund raising,” Kasikornbank’s co-president Pipit Aneaknithi said in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday.

“We see potential in this market. We’re serious about developing a digital-asset ecosystem that will be very cost efficient compared with existing, traditional platforms,” he was quoted as saying.

Thai firms are reengaging with opportunities in digital assets as the sector rebounds from a 2022 market rout and a series of bankruptcies. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s government is also open to blockchain technology and has touted a plan to use digital ledgers to facilitate a $14 billion cash handout, according to the report.

Pipit didn’t specify which firms are being advised to issue tokens but added they can be more cost effective than using loans or share sales. He envisages companies offering tradable tokens that would pay a yield.

Elsewhere, Binance last month pleaded guilty to US anti-money laundering and sanctions contraventions and was hit with a $4.3 billion penalty, emblematic of risks that have tarnished crypto’s reputation and left many in traditional finance wary, the report added.

Kasikornbank will tread carefully in line with regulations, Pipit said, adding that “with the proper supervision being put in place in many countries, the time is ripe for healthy expansion.”

A range of jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and the European Union, are looking to foster digital-asset hubs. The picture, however, is cloudier in the US, whose Securities and Exchange Commission has cracked down on an industry it describes as ripe with fraud and non-compliance, Bloomberg added.

Globally, financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase & Co, HSBC Holdings Plc and Franklin Templeton are cautiously flipping the switch on new systems built around blockchains, the report added.

Kasikornbank conducts commercial banking business, securities business, and other related businesses. With more than 70 years of business operations in Thailand, the bank said it has expanded its coverage to foreign countries in 1975, now having service networks in nine nations.

Kasikornbank is among Thailand’s largest banks and focuses on achieving the status of “Main Bank”​ of all customer segments. Its financial network provides service solutions in response to all financial requirements of customers, with respect to banking, fund management, economic and financial analyses, securities brokerage and financial advisory, auto financing and leasing services, as well as financial technology and infrastructure, information from its Linkedin page showed.

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