Blockchain coming to Thailand

Blockchain coming to Thailand

Kasikornbank (Kbank), one of the largest banks in Thailand, is exploring blockchain with IBM, “to save costs and speed up transactions”, the two companies say.

Kbank will be the first bank in the country to apply blockchain technology, when it launches the services in H1 2017.

To begin with, it will be used to certify the letters of guarantee (LCs).

Somkid Jiranuntarat, vice-chairman of Kbank’s technology group, says the bank is in talks of other Thail banks to share the blockchain network.

Kbank will be using Hyperledger technology (IBM is a member of the Hyperledger consortium).

Earlier this year Kbank unveiled plans to spend THB 5 billion ($142 million) per year on its digital banking transformation project. The bank expects the number of financial transactions at its 1,120 branches to fall to about 153 million by 2020 (from 188 million in 2015).

The digital drive follows on from last year, when Kbank went live with a new core banking system, FIS’s Profile, following a three-year modernisation project. The system replaced a heavily customised version of Temenos’ TCB. Kbank’s chairman and CEO, Banthoom Lamsam, described the launch of the new core banking system as a “milestone achieved” that would bring “revolutionary changes” in the bank’s services.