Thailand makes foothold investment in blockchain technology


SBC Digital Ventures, the venture arm of Siam Commercial Bank, has invested an undisclosed sum in San Francisco-based fintech distributer, Ripple.

Siam Commercial Bank has become the first Thai bank to invest in blockchain, following its participation in a US$55M seed funding round with Ripple.

SBC Digital Ventures chairman, Thana Thienachariya, said that the investment would help raise awareness of the importance of blockchain and its potential for utilisation in financial and non-financial service industries.

Siam Commercial Bank will invest in feasibility study and the testing of enterprise-grade blockchain technology.

“Blockchain is an exciting, emerging financial technology that is slated to transform the world of financial services and online transactions,” Thienachariya said.

“Through an investment in, and pilot program with Ripple, SCB can explore the opportunity in utilising blockchain to develop new products and services.”

The bank will use the investment to register its interest in the use of fintech services, which Thienachariya said would help grow Thailand’s involvement in alternative finance ventures.

“[This] reaffirms our commitment to cultivating a solid fintech ecosystem for Thailand,” he said.

“As blockchain technology is still new and not widespread in Thailand, we also see opportunity to work closely with Ripple to educate Thai people and businesses on this technology.”

Ripple announced last week that it had completed the US$55M series B financing, with Standard Chartered, Accenture Ventures and SBI Holdings also joining SBC on the investor list.

 Chief executive and co-founder Chris Larsen said that the funding will accelerate the customer adoption rates for Ripple, as well as allowing it to pursue international strategic partnerships.

“Our mission is to make cross-border payments truly efficient for banks and their customers, and in doing so, lay the foundation for an Internet of Value where the world moves money as easily as information,” he said.

“These…investors joining forces with us will help make this vision a reality.”