Norwegian gas and oil giant Aker ASA has revealed it is to create a cryptocurrency arm with a massive $59 million opening investment.
Run by Kjell Inge Rokke – Norway’s second-wealthiest person – the 180-year-old holding company launched Seetee AS with a letter to shareholders last night declaring it would be running open-source Bitcoin payment servers.
Rokke told investors the operation would be “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”.
It is understood that Seetee is targeting investments into projects that contribute to the Bitcoin industry – particularly companies with leanings towards renewable energy sources like solar, wind and hydro power.
Norway, one of the world’s leading oil exporting nations also possesses the world’s biggest sovereign wealth trust – the Norwegian oil fund. Often referred to as the Norway Government Pension Fund, it is a $1.3 trillion asset to the north European nation.
Aker’s involvement in that massive fund is pivotal to the economic success of Oslo and the country’s 5.4 million population.
In his letter to Aker’s shareholders, the 62-year-old billionaire outlines how Seetee had teamed up with crypto financial infrastructure specialists Blockstream.
One of Blockstream’s leading advisors is Adam Back – the celebrated British cypherpunk who created proof-of-work system Hashcash – one of the original pillars of Bitcoin itself.
That fact alone should be enough to have cryptocurrency evangelists dancing around their nodes but, coupled with some of Kjell Inge Rokke’s narrative in his shareholders’ letter, there’s potentially a cocktail for unprecedented enthusiasm.
“Yes, Bitcoin consumes electricity, and pays for it at the locally prevailing market prices,” he told Aker’s investors.
“But we believe Bitcoin will enable applications that can create tremendous value.
“If so, it will be engrained into the social fabric and can’t go to zero since it’s immune to the political forces that destroys a currency. If this scenario plays out, we might change our focus from the price of a Bitcoin to that of a Satoshi (one Bitcoin is one hundred million Satoshi).
“If our phones are full of Bitcoin applications in five years, the network’s value is a Stairway to Heaven.”