Big Thai bank is experimenting with decentralized financing

Kasikornbank or KBank, one of Thailand’s largest banks, has started experimenting with DeFi services as part of its business expansion plan.

Kbank’s technology subsidiary Kasikorn Business Technology Group (KBTG) is spearheading the bank’s DeFi exploration, according to a report by the Bangkok Post.

Ruangroj Poonpol, chairman of KBTG, commented on KBank’s DeFi plans as follows:

“DeFi is an important exploration for KBank Group this year […] The project is being investigated via KBTG in the second phase of the company’s digital transformation program. “

According to Poonpol, DeFi could be the key to improving the financial inclusion of the people of Thailand through access to innovative financial services, adding, “With this form of asset support, DeFi could also create economic value for Thailand.”

Asset-backed DeFi is associated with regulatory hurdles due to its interaction with real assets. In fact, industry players like MakerDAO’s Rune Christensen have already begun calling for engagement between DeFi stakeholders and regulators if decentralized funding is to continue its transition to the mainstream arena.

With the introduction of DeFi, KBank wants to expand its presence in Southeast Asia, especially in countries like Vietnam, where around two thirds of the population have no bank account.

KBank’s DeFi foray follows the bank’s dominance in the country’s digital banking space. The second largest Thai lender by assets reportedly accounts for 40% of the country’s digital banking operations, as does the largest mobile banking platform in Thailand with over 16 million users on its app.

Aside from the planned DeFi experiments, KBank also has a history of introducing crypto and blockchain in Thailand. In September 2018, the bank joined Visa’s blockchain-based B2B solution for cross-border payment transactions.

KBank also operates a digital trading platform through its KBTG subsidiary in cooperation with the Thai stock exchange.