Thailand’s biggest crypto exchange goes on hiring spree ahead of IPO

Bitkub Capital Group Holdings, the owner of Thailand’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is hiring financial advisers to facilitate its planned initial public offering (IPO) listing.

Bitkub aims to go public on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) in 2025, CEO Jirayut Srupsrisopa told Bloomberg on April 1. The upcoming public listing aims to raise new capital and boost Bitkub’s profile.

In addition to hiring advisers, Bitkub is now actively expanding staff despite cutting its headcount by 6% in 2022 and 2023.

Jirayut said that the Thai exchange is looking to add 1,000 employees by 2025, doubling the workforce from the current 2,000 people.

Bitkub initially announced plans to launch an IPO in Thailand in a 2023 shareholder letter without disclosing details.

Based in Bangkok, Bitkub is the largest crypto exchange in Thailand, accounting for 77% of the market share as of December 2023, according to data from HashKey. The exchange handles roughly $30 million in daily trading volumes.

Other major Thai crypto exchanges include Upbit — which launched in 2021 — along with Bitazza and Zipmex. However, Zipmex suspended trading activity in November 2023 following a crackdown from local regulators.

Market share of top four Thai crypto exchanges as of 2022. Source: CoinGecko

Thailand has emerged as a major crypto player in recent years. It reportedly had more than 13 million crypto users as of 2023, accounting for roughly 18% of its total population, according to data from Statista. It is projected that this figure will reach 17.7 million users in 2028.

Amid growing adoption, cryptocurrency firms have been moving to grab market share from Bitkub in Thailand.

A major global rival, Binance, officially launched its local subsidiary in January 2024, and is planning to open to the public in 2024.

Thailand’s Kasikornbank — one of the largest in the country — acquired a majority stake in the Satang crypto exchange in October 2023.

The new details about Bitkub’s planned IPO come after the exchange sold a 9.2% stake in its crypto exchange unit — called Bitkub Online — to tech holding company Asphere Innovations in July 2023. At the time, the stake was worth 600 million baht, or $16.5 million.

According to Jirayut, Bitkub expects Bitkub Online’s valuation to rise as trading volumes on the platform near levels not seen since the last crypto bull market in 2021. Bitkub Online accounts for roughly 80% of Bitkub Capital’s earnings.

In 2022, SCB X, a financial firm that owns the nation’s largest bank by market value, canceled a 17.85 billion baht plan to acquire a 51% stake in Bitkub Online amid increased regulatory scrutiny.

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