Kasikorn Bank HQ building

Thailand’s Kasikornbank launches $100M fund for Web3, AI projects

Kasikornbank, Thailand’s second-largest commercial bank, has unveiled a $100 million fund focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and Web3 projects.

The fund, christened KXVC, will invest in technology firms seeking to expand their operations into the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. In an official disclosure, Kasikornbank said it has its sights set on funding up to 30 startups across the European Union, the United States, Israel, and the APAC.

“When we deploy our capital, it doesn’t mean that we will provide just the money in a partnership,” said Thanaarmates Arriyavat, KX Venture Director. “We want to make sure that we really open doors for a lot of companies and funds to be in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region and overall APAC.”

The lender disclosed that it will be making investments across specific AI and Web3 verticals in line with its objectives. In AI, KXVC is searching for startups building consumer-focused AI tools, cybersecurity, and “problem-specific AI startups.”

For its investments in Web3, the fund will target node validators, middlewares, wallets, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and privacy-focused projects. The fund may be open to investing in Layer-1 (L1) or Layer-2 (L2) blockchains, shared securities, and modularity technologies.

Although AI has taken center stage in recent months, Kasikornbank continues to throw its weight behind Web3, highlighting several use cases for the technology. Arriyavat pointed out that Web3 offerings like NFTs offer novel ways for entities to engage with consumers while opening new frontiers for digital ownership.

Given the depth of its regulations, the executive expressed optimism for Southeast Asia to become the leading hub for Web3 on the continent. He added that uniformity of rules, particularly between Thailand and Indonesia, will trigger cross-border relations between Web3 service providers in the region.

“Because the rules and regulations over there are pretty forward-looking; it has a clear separation between tokens or digital asset that has utilities and security,” said Arriyavat.

Kasikornbank noted that foreign Web3 firms coming to the region will not face a talent shortage, given the depth of the local talent pool.

Thailand’s ambitious Web3 plan

Thailand’s Web3 industry braces itself for several government-led initiatives. The most prominent is a plan by the country’s new Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, to dole out THB 10,000 (US$300) to each citizen above 18 years old via digital wallets.

The central banks hint that the chances of inflation are slim as they expect the plan to add up to 2.5% to Thailand’s GDP.

Thai regulators are still cracking down on cryptocurrency scam activity, pointing its crosshairs at Facebook (NASDAQ: META) for failing to take action against advertisers on its platform. Cryptocurrency service providers in Thailand are expected to make regular disclosures and ensure a clear separation of funds following a ban on lending and staking activities.

Watch: Web3 is natural progression of technology

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