Norwegian holding company Aker ASA has set up a new unit to invest in Bitcoin and the wider Bitcoin ecosystem, according to an announcement published on Monday.
The industrial investment company focused on oil, gas, and renewable energy, among other sectors, shared that the new company, called Seetee, has a capitalization of NOK 500 million (approximately $58 million), an amount the firm aims "to increase significantly over time" with growing experience in the space. Seetee will further "keep all its liquid investable assets in bitcoin."
In a letter to Aker's shareholders, chairman Kjell Inge Røkke detailed Seetee's strategy as threefold. Initially, it plans to use Bitcoin as its treasury asset and "join the community." In doing so, the firm plans to be "much more progressive than most established corporates," although "perhaps not as rebellious as the cypherpunks who invented Bitcoin."
Second, Seetee seeks to establish Bitcoin mining operations that use stranded electricity within the country to convert it to "economic assets that can be used anywhere." And eventually, the company plans to invest in companies in the Bitcoin ecosystem, which, Røkke writes, "is where our true passion is!"
To further its efforts, Aker has partnered with Bitcoin infrastructure company Blockstream. Initially focused on its mining efforts, the collaboration is set to be expanded "by building on Blockstream's unique strengths in blockchain technology and Aker's industrial legacy and capability set" in the future.
The Aker chairman noted in his letter that the decision to enter Bitcoin through Seetee followed a long discussion about value and was the result of over half a year of research. Specifically, Røkke names Blockstream CEO Dr. Adam Back, Bitcoin Standard author Saifedean Ammous, MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, and LinkedIn co-fouder Reid Hoffman, among others, as the firm's sources in its research:
It’s amazing to see that the cryptocurrency space attracts so many intelligent people of younger generations—much like the internet did when it was in its infancy.
Seetee is additionally exploring applications for sidechain technologies, specifically the Liquid Network, for "foreign exchange, cash management, trade set- tlements, [and] emission verifications," while naming future potential for micropayments and improved "economic access for the unbanked" through saving, lending and spending services.