In brief

  • Norway-listed Aker ASA has set up a unit to focus on investing in Bitcoin projects and companies.
  • The subsidiary, Seetee AS, will keep all of its liquid assets in Bitcoin.

Aker ASA, a Norwegian holding company controlled by billionaire investor Kjell Inge Røkke, is establishing a new business unit that will focus on investing in projects and companies "throughout the Bitcoin ecosystem," the company announced on Monday.

Seetee AS plans to keep all its liquid investable assets in Bitcoin; it started with an initial purchase of 1,170 BTC ($58.5 million). As a result, Aker ASA joins the growing list of publicly-traded companies with direct exposure to Bitcoin through investments.

“Bitcoin is our treasury asset… and our strategy is to hodl,” the company said on its website.

Forging partnerships

Apart from purchasing and owning Bitcoin, the company intends to establish partnerships with leading players within the broader blockchain community.

Seetee will initially partner with leading Bitcoin infrastructure provider Blockstream, with a focus on Bitcoin mining operations involving Aker's industrial facilities, as well as sidechain projects developed by the Canadian company.

Founded in 1841, Aker ASA is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and is active in such areas as offshore fishing, construction and engineering. The company has also been investing in industrial software, fintech solutions and green energy.

"A long and fundamental discussion about value"

Røkke is considered among the richest persons in Norway, with a net worth of $3.6 billion in 2019. In a letter to shareholders, he explained that Aker ASA's decision to venture into cryptocurrencies is the result of a "long and fundamental discussion about value".

"I have been drinking from the fire hose since last summer,” the billionaire wrote, adding that his research into the space has consisted of articles, books, podcasts and videos, "as well as conversations with people around me."

Among those people he cites as influences are the likes of Saifedean Ammous, Andreas M. Antonopolous, Adam Back and Chamath Palihapitiya, as well as institutional investors such as MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, whose firm has purchased over 90,000 BTC, worth $4.5 billion at today's prices.

“Bit­coin may still go to zero," Røkke noted. "But it can also be­come the core of a new mon­e­tary ar­chi­tec­ture. If so, one Bit­coin may be worth mil­lions of dollars."