The world of cryptocurrency has come a long way since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009. And despite a slowdown in the market, there remain a plethora of startups and investors looking to take advantage of the opportunities presented by blockchain technology.
One such entrepreneur leading the charge is Jirayut (Topp) Srupsrisopa, the Founder and Group CEO of Bitkub Capital Group Holdings Co., Ltd.
Topp is one of Thailand’s leading Bitcoin and open blockchain experts with more than 10 years of experience in the blockchain industry. In 2014 he founded his first crypto venture, Coins.co.th, which grew to the title of Thailand’s largest Bitcoin wallet company.
Today, Topp has grown Bitkub Capital Group Holdings to become the largest and most trusted blockchain and digital asset group in Thailand worth over $1 billion. He is one of Thailand’s few unicorn founders and is well-known for his work building the credibility of Bitcoin as a digital currency in the region.
On July 11, Topp hosted a webinar for Founders Network on strategies to help crypto startups succeed in today’s landscape. His webinar covered:
- How to harness the power and potential of digital currency
- Tips for navigating regulatory pushback
- Advice on how to build a cash-flow-positive company
- What crypto trends founders should watch out for
It All Starts With Bitcoin
After earning his Master’s in Economics at Oxford University, Topp began his career trading Pink Sheets stocks as an investment banker in Shanghai
“[It was] similar to the Wolf of Wall Street, pretty much no regulations, the Pink Sheets, the penny stock, very volatile,” he shares.
Two-and-a-half months into his career he learned about Bitcoin. The potential of the currency’s expansive returns felt alluring. He tracked Bitcoin’s valuation and saw the price skyrocket from $11 to $1,150 in a short period of time – outperforming the Pink Sheets, penny stocks, and securities.
Topp became fascinated with Bitcoin and the potential it had to change the financial landscape. He researched and found others making the case for Bitcoin and it’s transformative power.
Soon after, Topp quit his job and flew to San Francisco to start a job as a financial consultant. The job led him to meet the CEO of PayPal, Dan Schulman, who rubber-stamped the notion that Bitcoin had the potential to disrupt the financial market.
“I learned during our conversation that the original vision of PayPal wasn’t to create a money and payment gateway but rather to create a digital dollar. The infrastructure just wasn’t ready at the time,” Topp shares.
Topp was certain of the potential of cryptocurrency and crypto startups. In 2014, he quickly quit his consulting role and flew home to Thailand to start his first Bitcoin company out of his parents’ clothing shop in Bangkok.
Going Against The Grain
When Topp began working in the crypto startup spaceno one believed in the legitimacy of Bitcoin.
Around the same time his first business Coins.co.th launched, The Bank of Thailand issued a formal letter to its commercial banks expressing concerns that Bitcoin could be a Ponzi scheme.
“I had big fights with my own father because who would my dad believe – his recently graduated son or the Bank of Thailand,” says Topp. “I was stubborn with the vision and continued on.”
Topp entered a Thai SEC competition with the goal of creating legitimacy for the crypto product. He demonstrated how quickly a trade can be executed with Bitcoin – taking the 3-day process down to a few seconds.
The success of his demonstration at the Thai SEC competition offered Bitcoin a new level of credibility. And as other countries were starting to adopt Bitcoin as a legitimate currency, the Thai Minister of Finance ordered the Thai SEC to formulate a plan to regulate the currency.
A Billion-Dollar Idea
“Thailand was very fast to issue a license compared to the rest of the world. So when I realized that the license was about to come out, I started to fundraise to turn my idea into a proper business,” says Topp.
“We managed to raise $2.1 million at a $16 million valuation on the seat ground with just a piece of paper and the idea and the credibility of being the winner of the Thai SEC competition.”
It was the biggest seed round in Thai history at the time. The investment grew Bitkub from a team of 10 people to 2,000 in just 4 years.
Up until 2023, the company has raised $10.7 million without the need for additional capital. The company invested $3.2 million before it became profitable and has continued to run on cash ever since.
Topp makes it clear that establishing a billion-dollar company with only $10.7 million raised is unique. Generally, a company of a billion-dollar scale would take closer to $400 million dollars to build.
The company has also shown exponential growth with a high of two-thousand percent year-over-year.
“We’ve become the most profitable Thai FinTech startup in history,” says Topp.