Thai retail giant kicks off digital assets JV to revive tourism, crypto-shopping

The Mall Group and Bitkub Capital Group Holding launched a 50:50 joint venture (JV), Bitkub M Social, to establish Thailand’s first digital community, with the goal of promoting Thailand as a digital-assets-friendly destination.

The Mall also announced that from December through the end of February, customers will be able to use digital currencies for payment in its retail chain without incurring any fees.

Those currencies include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitkub Coin (KUB), Tether (USDT), XRP, Stellar (XLM) และ JFIN Coin (JFIN).

Bitkub M Social’s ultimate goal is to attract the “new wealth” group or the cryptocurrency millionaires to boost spending in the tourism industry, Supaluck Umpujh, The group’s chairwoman said in a conference.

The community hall is located in one of The Mall department stores, EmQuartier, as an academic hub to encourage Thai entrepreneurs to adopt the digital economy. The membership fee ranges from 12,000 to 50,000 annually. 

The Mall Group is one of the nation’s largest mall and department store operators, while Bitkub is a leading licensed cryptocurrency exchange. Bitkub previously sold its equites to Siam Commercial Bank to form partnership in the fintech arena.

Beside forming the JV, The Mall has partnered with industry leaders in Thailand such as the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), AirAsia Aviation (AAV), Ananda Development (ANAN), Dusit Thani Group, and Millennium Auto Group to develop the integrated digital assets infrastructure.

Earlier, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn stated that officials are working with the country’s regulators and a local cryptocurrency exchange to open doors for the acceptance of digital tokens for travel.

“There are people who have become wealthy from holding digital currencies and they may want to use the wealth they have accrued,” Yuthasak said in an interview with Bloomberg.

After reopening to vaccinated tourists in November, the government forecast just 200,000 arrivals this year, a massive drop from its pre-pandemic level of 40 million.

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