Visa’s blockchain-based B2B Connect project is gaining steam, with Thailand’s fourth-largest bank, Kasikornbank, joining the fold. The bank will be the first Thailand bank to use the technology, joining other well-respected financial institutions such as the U.S. Commerce Bank, Shinhan Bank in South Korea, the Union Bank of Philippines, and the United Overseas Bank in Singapore.
Kasikornbank may not be the largest financial institution in Thailand, but it still has substantial $96 billion in assets. The bank was established in 1945 with a registered capital of only five million baht.
The move shouldn’t come as too surprising, considering the fact that Thailand as a nation is much more pro-cryptocurrency, especially in the context of Asia. For example, China, the largest economy in the region, has banned ICOs completely, even while its state-owned banks have implemented blockchain technology to optimize its operations.
In contrast, the Bank of Thailand has revealed just last month that it actually plans on issuing its own state-issued cryptocurrency. The Bank of Thailand has also even allowed local banks much more leeway in terms of cryptocurrency – such as allowing them to issue tokens, invest in cryptocurrency markets through subsidiaries, and even provide crypto brokerage services.
While Japan and South Korea have expressed positive sentiments about cryptocurrency before – such as Japan declaring that bitcoin is a legal form of payment, and the mayor of Seoul expressing interest in developing his own cryptocurrency – the amount of regulation involved has allowed Thailand to become an international hub when it comes to cryptocurrency.
While Thailand’s economy might not be as powerful as its neighbors, it still has been drawing in cryptocurrency enthusiasts and companies internationally.
Suripong Tantiyanon, Visa’s Thailand country manager, praised the decision, pointing out that Visa B2B will help guide the country when it comes to “security, governance, and distributed ledger technology”. He believes that Visa will be an industry leader in this space.
Visa’s B2B program was already launched last year but is obviously making great progress in Asia already. The platform is built on Chain, which was actually acquired by Stellarrecently. The platform is meant to enter the corporate cross-border payment sector, which many analysts believe will grow tremendously over the years and is one of the main ways that many cryptocurrency enthusiasts believe the cryptocurrency sector will grow, with institutional money helping lead the charge to mass adoption.
The idea is that blockchain technology will allow for faster and cheaper transactions, which will save banks massive amounts of money. Visa also believes that blockchain technology allows for the cross-border payment sector to be more transparent than ever, as well. Kasikornbank is the first Thailand bank to join the platform.