Norwegian Chinese firms buy $100M in crypto

Beyond Tesla? Two firms buy $100M in crypto as store of value… and more

A Norwegian energy firm and Chinese software company both said their cryptocurrency purchases were a prelude to entering the crypto and blockchain industry as well as investments

Splashy Bitcoin investments like Tesla’s recent $1.5 billion buy are largely aimed at avoiding losses to currency devaluation, but two firms’ recent purchase of just under $100 million go beyond that. 

According to March 8 Reuters reports, Chinese photo editing mobile application Meitu invested $22.1 million in Ether (ETH) and $17.9 million in Bitcoin, while Norwegian holding company Aker ASA plans to buy $58.6 million worth of Bitcoin. 

Tesla’s investment focused on Bitcoin as a store of value, and the only addition of crypto or blockchain to its business announced at the time was to start accepting BTC as payment for its cars. Aker and Meitu’s wallets may be smaller, but their ambitions are not.

Oeyvind Eriksen, the CEO of the Norwegian firm, which has interests in offshore fishing, construction, and oil and gas said it will start by establishing a new subsidiary named Seetee, dedicated to investing in Bitcoin and blockchain technology. 

Seetee will initially focus on Bitcoin mining operations through a collaboration with Bitcoin-focused mining and development firm Blockstream. It will be funded by an initial capital investment of 500 million Norwegian krona—about $58.6 million—that will be kept in Bitcoin. But it is also looking at adding blockchain technology to its business. Eriksen said:

“These technologies have the potential to reduce frictions in our day to day lives, enhance the security of our digitally driven economies, and unlock new business models for innovation.”

Aker ASA is controlled by Norwegian billionaire investor Kjell Inge Roekke and most of its income is generated from its oil and gas operations. Recently, the firm started investing more in renewable energy and information technology.

Meitu, on the other hand, said that its purchase of crypto assets was partly an investment and partly as a preparation to enter the blockchain industry itself. The company is investigating the feasibility of integrating Ethereum-based systems into its overseas businesses. The purchase and the new developments are all financed with funds from the firm’s corporate cash reserves.

Meitu’s stock jumped by 14.4% after the announcement, Reuters said.

Institutional exposure to crypto assets is reaching new highs. According to reports published earlier today, 40% of the nearly 300 institutional customers surveyed by investment bank Goldman Sachs already have exposure to crypto assets through derivatives.

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Adrian is a newswriter based out of Pisa, Italy. He's passionate about cryptocurrency, digital rights, IT, tech and futurology and likes to think about the future in a positive way.