Major Thai bank experimenting with decentralized finance
Kasikornbank has identified asset-backed DeFi as having the potential to create economic value for Thailand.
Kasikornbank, or KBank, one of Thailand’s largest banks, has begun experimenting with DeFi services as part of its business expansion plan.
According to a report by Bangkok Post, the bank’s decentralized finance exploration is being spearheaded by KBank’s tech subsidiary, Kasikorn Business Technology Group, or KBTG.
Commenting on KBank’s DeFi plans, KBTG chairman Ruangroj Poonpol said:
“DeFi is a key exploration for KBank Group this year […] The project is being explored through KBTG under the second phase of the company’s digital transformation programme.”
According to Poonpol, DeFi could hold the key to improving financial inclusion for people in Thailand via access to innovative financial services, adding: “With this asset-backed form, DeFi could also create economic value for Thailand.”
Asset-backed DeFi comes with regulatory hurdles, given its interaction with real-world assets. Indeed, industry participants, such as MakerDAO’s Rune Christensen, have already begun clamoring for engagement between DeFi stakeholders and regulators if decentralized finance is to continue its transition to the mainstream arena.
With DeFi adoption in the cards, KBank is looking to expand its presence in Southeast Asia, especially in countries like Vietnam where about two-thirds of the population remains unbanked.
KBank’s DeFi foray is coming on the heels of the bank’s dominance in the country’s digital banking arena. The second-largest Thai lender by assets reportedly accounts for 40% of the nation’s digital banking transactions as is the largest mobile banking platform in Thailand with over 16 million users on its app.
Apart from its planned DeFi experimentation, KBank also has a history of crypto and blockchain adoption in Thailand. Back in September 2018, the bank joined Visa’s blockchain-based B2B solution for cross-border payment transactions.
KBank, via its KBTG subsidiary, also operates a digital trading platform in collaboration with the Stock Exchange of Thailand.