Thailand’s crypto exchange Bitkub to go public in Hong Kong

Thailand’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Bitkub plans to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange from 2024, its chief executive told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) during a regional economic forum.

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Citing the geographic location, strong rule of law and high liquidity in the stock markets, Jirayut Srupsrisopa, founder and CEO of Bitkub Capital Group, said these are the reasons for choosing Hong Kong over New York. However, he hopes that Western companies will continue to prefer New York when they go public.

“I think our strength is in the Southeast Asia region. So it’s better to be connected to the market closer to home,” she said during an interview at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit.

According to Srupsrisopa, Hong Kong markets enjoy deeper liquidity compared to Singapore, but he urged authorities to further embrace new technologies and speed up reform of its legal framework for digital asset platforms.

“Hong Kong has always been a leader in the financial space. But to keep the momentum and continue to be the leader, you should have freer and more open regulations and be more receptive to the adoption of new technologies”, said the businessman.

Commenting on the recent FTX crash, Srupsrisopa said: “A few centralized companies mishandling client funds or having very bad governance doesn’t mean cryptocurrency is bad, right? Cryptocurrency is actually a much better commodity. And customers will always choose what is best for them.”

Bitkub’s comment comes at a time when regulators in Thailand are targeting its Bangkok-based cryptocurrency exchange over allegations of inaccurate reporting and laundering operations on its platform.

In its order, the commission said Bitkub’s authorized agents intentionally attempted to give the appearance of inflated business interest by placing equivalent buy and sell orders through a prohibited practice called wash tradewhere transactions are executed without transferring ownership of an asset.

Perhaps the biggest setback for Bitkub came when Thailand’s oldest lender, Siam Commercial Bank, canceled its plan to acquire a 51% majority stake in the cryptocurrency exchange for roughly 18 billion baht ($500 million).

The deal to buy a majority stake in Bitkub has already been stalled in due diligence for more than 10 months since the offer was originally unveiled in November 2011. The deal had valued Bitkub at more than $1 billion, making it which makes it the last unicorn in a country. once seen as barren in terms of new ventures.