How Thai Crypto Unicorn Bitkub Plans to Become the Coinbase of Asia

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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Related Reading | Coinbase Will Invest 10% Of Its Profits In Crypto Going Forward

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.

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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.

Related Reading | Bitcoin Payments Card Are Coming To Asia Pacific, Courtesy Of Mastercard

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).

Crypto total market cap at $2,5 trillion in the daily chart | Source:


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Animoca Brands doubles valuation to $2.2B with new $65M funding round

Nonfungible token (NFT)-game and virtual property developer Animoca Brands has doubled its valuation to $2.2 billion after closing a new funding round that fetched $65 million.

The latest funding round was conducted at a pre-money valuation of $2.2 billion, and included backing from gaming giants Ubisoft Entertainment along with Liberty City Ventures, Sequoia China, Dragonfly Capital to name a few.

It’s more vindication for a company that was kicked off the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in March 2020, in part for its involvement in cryptocurrencies.

According to the Wednesday announcement from the firm, more than 43.8 million newly issued shares will be distributed to investors at a price of AUD $2 per share, or USD $1.51.

Animoca has now raised a total of $203.88 million in 2021, with the firm becoming a crypto unicorn in June when it raised $138.88 million as part of two tranches of a capital raise at a valuation of $1 billion.

The brand-focused metaverse and interactive content company said the latest funding will go towards funding “strategic investments and acquisitions, product development, and licenses for popular intellectual properties.”

Animoca co-founder Yat Siu outlined the company’s vision around digital ownership and NFTs moving forward:

“In 2018, we laid out a strategy based on our assessment that in the future digital property rights would revolutionize industries by expanding financial inclusion and that this significant change would start with NFT adoption in games. That future is already here.”

“With the backing of our new strategic investors, Animoca Brands will continue to advance blockchain in gaming — and beyond — to introduce billions of gamers and Internet users to true digital ownership,” he added.

Related: NFT gaming proposition in question as regulators and traditional gaming pullback

This is another sign of big money pouring into NFT gaming and virtual property-focused firms.

On Tuesday, Galaxy Interactive, a venture capital firm focused on next-generation interactive technology, announced that it had raised $325 million from 70 different investors for its second fund focused on virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence and NFT gaming.