Tuesday 9 March 2021 12:40 pm

Aker move could signal unprecedented enthusiasm for institutional Bitcoin investment

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.

Financial infrastructure

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.”