Siam Commercial Bank invests $50 million in digital startups

The venture capital arm of Siam Commercial Bank has allocated $50 million for investments in startups working on blockchain and decentralized finance (DeFi) as the Kingdom’s oldest bank charts a course for an innovative future.

Centralized financial services bridging with decentralized finance (DeFi) will “prepare banks to cope with the rapid technological change” in the future, said Mukaya Panich, Digital Venture and Investment Officer at SCB 10X.

Mukaya declined to elaborate on which companies the fund would be investing in but stressed that they must be involved in blockchain infrastructure even to be considered. SCB has already invested in a string of digital asset companies abroad, including Ripple, BlockFi, and Alpha Finance Labs.

For much of its history, Thailand’s banking sector was regarded as protective and closed, shielded from competition by the government. In recent decades, however, Thai banks have been opening up to foreign partnerships and competition and proving that they can hold their own in a global marketplace despite being relatively small.

Siam Commercial Bank was the first bank founded in Thailand and has been among the first to invest in the latest financial technologies. It founded Digital Ventures in 2016 as a fintech venture fund with $100 million.

In January 2020, the bank established SCB 10X. According to its website, it was founded “with the moonshot mission to achieve exponential growth through technology innovations and investments via its three arms: Venture Builder, Venture Capital, and Strategic Investment and Partnership.

“SCB 10X oversees investments in disruptive technology startups globally, as well as the exponential growth technology portfolio companies of the SCB Group, comprising Digital Ventures, SCB Abacus, MONIX, and Purple Ventures.

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