BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's Kasikornbank Pcl has joined with the Thai unit of International Business Machines Corp to develop blockchain services in a bid to save costs and speed up transaction process, the companies said on Thursday.

Kasikornbank will be the first Thai bank to apply the blockchain technology and aims to start the services in the first half of 2017, Somkid Jiranuntarat, vice chairman of Kasikornbank's technology group, told reporters.

Kasikornbank is also in talks with other Thai banks to share the blockchain network, he said.

Blockchain is a web-based transaction-processing and settlement system whose efficiency banks say could slash costs. It creates a "golden record" of any given set of data that is automatically replicated for all parties in a secure network, eliminating any need for third-party verification.

Financial services companies around the world have been focusing on developing blockchain technology, with advocates saying it has the potential to save billions of dollars in costs and speed up transaction times.

The technology will be used to certify original documents by using IBM's Hyperledger infrastructure. At the initial stage, a system called OriginCert API is used to certify letters of guarantee (LG), which helps simplify and speed up the LG issuance process for customers, according to a joint statement.

Kasikornbank, Thailand's fourth-largest lender by assets, is the leader in digital banking with a market share of almost 40 percent. It aimed to spend 5 billion baht ($143 million) to develop information technology, it said in April.

(Reporting by Manunphattr Dhanananphorn; Writing by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)