Thai crypto exchange Bitkub eyes $3 billion valuation

Thailand’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Bitkub is gearing up for a public offering next year with a potential valuation of up to $3 billion, according to Bitkub Capital Group CEO Jirayut Srupsrisopa.

Thai crypto exchange Bitkub eyes $3 billion valuation

In an interview with Bloomberg, Jirayut disclosed that the company is in the final stages of appointing financial advisers for the planned initial public offering (IPO).

Bitkub’s owner previously hinted at its IPO ambitions in a 2023 shareholder letter, though it did not specify a timeline. Jirayut’s announcement clarifies the company’s target for going public in 2025. Bitkub Online is a key asset for its Bangkok-based parent company, contributing about 80% of its profits. The exchange is partly owned by Asphere Innovations which holds a 9.2% stake.

The firm’s valuation stems from its strong financial performance, with Jirayut indicating that a price-to-earnings ratio ranging from 10 to 30 could place the company’s valuation between $1 and $3 billion. He revealed these figures in a LinkedIn message when queried about the IPO valuation but did not disclose the targeted amount for the fundraising.

Bitkub was last valued at approximately 6 billion baht ($165 million) during a Series A fundraising round in July 2023.

Based in Bangkok, Bitkub is Thailand’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, boasting a 77% market share as of December 2023 with daily trading volumes hovering around $30 million. Despite a reduction in workforce by 6% over 2022 and 2023, Bitkub is on a hiring spree, with plans to increase its employee count to 1,000 by 2025, effectively doubling its current staff of 2,000.

Bitkub’s move towards an IPO comes at a time when the Thai crypto market sees varied activities among its key players, including Upbit’s entry in 2021 and the operational suspension of Zipmex in November 2023 due to regulatory actions.

Bitkub’s IPO also comes a few months after Thailand’s regulators targeted his Bangkok-based cryptocurrency exchange over allegations of inaccurate reporting and wash trading on its platform.

In its order, the commission said authorized agents of Bitkub sought to intentionally give the appearance of inflated trading interest by placing matching buy and sell orders through a prohibited practice called wash trading, where trades are executed without transferring ownership of an asset.

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

The deal to buy a majority stake in Bitkub has been already stuck in due diligence more than 10 months since the bid was originally unveiled back in November 2011. The deal had valued Bitkub at more than $1.0 billion, making it the latest unicorn in a country once seen as barren in terms of startups.