Kasikorn launches tech venture builder

Kasikorn launches tech venture builder

Decentralised finance at heart of initiative

From left are Mr Thanaarmates, Mr Ruangroj and Mr Winter at the launch of KASIKORN X.
From left are Mr Thanaarmates, Mr Ruangroj and Mr Winter at the launch of KASIKORN X.

Kasikorn Business Technology Group (KBTG), a technology arm of Kasikornbank (KBank), has launched KASIKORN X (KX), a venture builder for tech startups aimed at capturing a surging wave of decentralised finance (DeFi) development.

It has also introduced a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, called "Coral", to support the creative economy, bringing Thai and Asian artists together to present and sell their artwork to a global audience.

"We established KX as a launchpad of the new S-curve startups for growth by incubating and scaling them as well as making a spin-off. KX will mainly focus on decentralised finance [DeFi]," said Ruangroj "Krathing" Poonpol, group chairman of KBTG.

DeFi is a decentralised finance system via blockchain that allows anybody to examine and conduct transactions without the need for intermediaries like a bank or financial institution.

KX has envisaged massive opportunities in creating disruptive businesses in the realms of financial and non-financial services that are set to become increasingly popular, he said.

Thanaarmates Arriyavat, head of venture building for KX, pointed out that while DeFi serves only 1% of people, KX aims to bring it to the benefit of mass users.

KX has also rolled out Coral as a new market opportunity for artists and collectors.

"NFT is a new opportunity for artists, collectors and creators, as well as bringing an entirely new business model," he said.

Coral, powered by blockchain-platform Ethereum, will go live by the end of this year, with the ultimate goal being to facilitate investments in art assets and help both Thai and Asian artists to be well-known globally, he said.

Coral will receive revenues from the platform fee.

The platform is also working with Siam Piwat, a large Thai mall operator, to organise NFT Innovation Digital Walls to showcase NFT artwork collectibles.

The NFT market in Thailand is worth millions of dollars and has seen triple-digit growth this year.

Through Coral, customers can purchase NFT artwork with fiat money like Thai Baht or US Dollars, while other platforms require customers to convert their fiat currencies to cryptocurrency before they can buy artwork, which is more inconvenient, said Mr Thanaarmates.

Nine Thai artists are now presenting their artwork on the platform.

"We aim to support global buyers, but the artist side of the marketplace will mainly support artists from Thailand and Asia," said Mr Thanaarmates.

Axel Winter, chief digital officer of Siam Piwat, said NFTs will support the new creative economy.

NFTs are primarily focused on digital art and games, but in the future they are expected to cover music, video, books and other tokenised items.

The Coral platform will lead to new developments in art, culture and lifestyle, and deliver excellent experiences to local and international visitors, Mr Winter said. The partnership between KX and Siam Piwat will mark the first step in creating businesses and innovations that integrate the offline and online worlds.

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