On Monday, Norwegian multinational Aker ASA announced the launch of Seetee AS, a subsidiary dedicated to investing in theecosystem. It will hold all of its cash in Bitcoin, with initial holdings of $59 million—a number that may be set to increase.
“We will invest more into the ecosystem in future, and this may include adding to our Bitcoin holdings,” Seetee CEO Snorre Lorgen told Decrypt, in an email exchange.
Lorgan explained that Seetee will be looking at two ways of investing in the Bitcoin ecosystem. He said it will adopt a hybrid approach of funding Bitcoin developers and teams directly, and setting up its own team, similar to payment company Square’s Bitcoin-focused team, Square Crypto. But how this develops will depend on where it can contribute the most.
In terms of what the firm plans to invest in, Lorgan was open-minded. “Everything is on the table, but we believe that Aker’s industrial base will be a strength and a catalyst for a subset of applications,” he said.
Lorgan noted that Seetee has been a relatively long time in the making, with people at all levels of Aker getting involved. He added, “Therefore any challenges have been approachable and solvable as we have progressed.”
Upon the launch of Seetee, Aker’s billionaire chairman Kjell Inge Røkke wrote a shareholder letter laying out his vision for the Bitcoin unit. He explained that the firm wants to really get stuck into the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
“In Bitcoin speak, we will be hodlers. We will be different, but additive. Perhaps not as rebellious as the cypherpunks who invented Bitcoin. But much more progressive than most established corporates,” he wrote.
He noted the firm is already running open-source Bitcoin payment servers. These are ways to make it easy for companies to pay and receive Bitcoin—without relying on third parties, such as Visa or Mastercard. The most well-known example is the open-source project BTCPAY.
Røkke said Seetee will be building mining operations to use excess electricity, particularly renewable energy, to mine Bitcoin. He likened this idea to storing this energy as Bitcoin rather than letting it go to waste.
He also highlighted the Bitcoin Lightning Network as an example of how Bitcoin can scale to millions of payments without increasing its burden on the environment. The Lightning Network is a layer built on top of Bitcoin that allows for near-instant transactions at very low costs. Røkke claimed that the network, which is still in its infancy, offers costs lower than legacy payment rails, adding, “The direction is clear: finance will be disrupted as surely as fossil fuels will be. The question is not if, but when.”