Norwegian Oil Giant Aker Makes Long Play for Bitcoin

Aker ASA, a 180-year-old Norwegian industrial holding company with ownership in oil and gas services companies, has created a unit dedicated to investing in bitcoin. The unit, called Seetee AS, is launching with about $58.6 million, will keep its liquid assets […]

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Bergen, Norway. Source: Shutterstock

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key takeaways

  • 180-year-old Norwegian industrial holding company has created a unit dedicated to investing in bitcoin.
  • The unit, called Seetee AS, is launching with about $58.6 million, and will keep liquid assets in bitcoin

Aker ASA, a 180-year-old Norwegian industrial holding company with ownership in oil and gas services companies, has created a unit dedicated to investing in bitcoin.

The unit, called Seetee AS, is launching with about $58.6 million, will keep its liquid assets in bitcoin and is already run­ning open source bit­coin pay­ment servers, chairman Kjell Inge Rokke, who’s also Norway’s second-richest person, said in a shareholder letter Monday. 

With the launch of Seetee, Aker is positioning itself “in the mid­dle of an in­dus­try that could de­fine the next sev­er­al decades, much like the in­ter­net has done since the ear­ly 1990s,” Rokke said in the letter.

Norway is the 14th-largest oil exporter in the world and the Norway Government Pension Fund (also known as the Norwegian oil fund) is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, with $1.3 trillion dollars in assets under management.

Seetee plans to invest in companies and projects that contribute to the bitcoin ecosystem; es­tab­lish min­ing op­er­a­tions that transfer stranded renewable energy like wind, so­lar and hy­dro pow­er to eco­nom­ic as­sets; and form partnerships with bitcoin and blockchain companies. 

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In the letter, Rokke also said that See­tee formed a part­ner­ship with Block­stream, which focuses on bitcoin-based financial infrastructure and applications. Blockstream’s lead­er­ship in­cludes Adam Back, the in­ven­tor of Hash­cash, a 1997 pre­cur­sor to Bit­coin.

“Many large com­pa­nies are vic­tims of their own suc­cess and end up small or de­funct,” Rokke said in the letter. “I will do every­thing I can to keep Aker cu­ri­ous, in­no­v­a­tive, and able to keep up with the times.”

The $6 billion Aker is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. In addition to oil and gas it controls companies in renewable energy and green technologies, maritime assets, marine biotechnology and industrial software.

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