Norwegian Publicly-listed Oil Company Buys $58 Million Worth of Bitcoin

Aker has established a new unit called Seetee to invest throughout the Bitcoin ecosystem. Co-founder Kjell Inge Røk­ke calls it not investing in Bitcoin the “riskiest decision.”

Norway’s Aker ASA is establishing a new unit dedicated to investing throughout the Bitcoin ecosystem, announced the company on Monday.

The new unit called Seetee AS would have an initial capital of 500 million Norwegian crowns ($58.6 million). The company is planning to keep its liquid assets in BTC, the industrial holding company said.

Seetee has already made its first Bitcoin purchase of 1,170 BTC with a strategy to HODL.

“Aker’s de­ci­sion to en­ter Bit­coin through See­tee is the re­sult of a long and fun­da­men­tal dis­cus­sion about val­ue,” states the shareholder letter. It further calls, not investing in Bitcoin the “riskiest decision.” Aker co-founder Kjell Inge Røk­ke wrote,

“Bitcoin may still go to zero. But it can also become the core of a new monetary architecture. If so, one bitcoin may be worth mil­lions of dollars. The asym­me­try is in­ter­est­ing to a port­fo­lio.”

As of writing, Bitcoin is trading around $51,000.

Besides using Bitcoin as a treasury asset, the company will also build and in­vest in projects and companies in Bit­coin’s ecosystem.

The unit will also establish mining operations and integrate blockchain technology with Aker’s industrial operations. For this, the company would collaborate with Canada’s Blockstream. Aker ASA Chief Executive Oeyvind 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, controlled by Norwegian billionaire investor Kjell Inge Roekke, derives most of its income from the oil and gas industry. And the company doesn’t see “a long-term problem related to Bit­coin’s electricity consumption.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitfury Announces Bitcoin Mining Investment Program For Institutional Clients

Bitfury, one of the oldest Bitcoin mining firms established back in 2011, has announced a Bitcoin mining investment program for institutional investors on May 26th. This investment program is set to offer an innovative way for institutional funds and family offices to diversify their portfolio and get exposure to the Bitcoin verse.

These institutional clients would be able to invest in different data centers located in North America, Iceland, Norway and Central Asia. The investment program would see these institutional clients can either make direct investments in these data centers or through joint ventures.

Bitfury believes that this investment opportunity is the perfect way for institutional clients to get the right exposure to a market which has intrigued both the small and big players in the past couple of years. Bitfury would be solely responsible for looking after all aspects of the investment program, be it procuring different types of equipment, site sourcing or maintenance.

The firm claims to have one of the most advanced sets of crypto mining equipments under their belt which when combined with the location of their data centers, where the cost of electricity is quite cheap, the firm is hoping to make this innovative investment program mainstream. The Bitcoin mining company believes that these kinds of programs offer better exposure than direct spot trading due to uncertainty in prices. Valery Vavilov, the CFO of Bitfury commented on the idea behind the program and said,

“While this offering is attractive to different types of accredited investors, we believe one of the groups that will benefit most from this offering is family offices. Our streamlined avenue to diversification is designed specifically for their portfolios – exposure to digital assets without any of the operational/technical requirements of holding the digital assets/infrastructure themselves.”

Bitcoin Mining Could Become A Form of Investment Vehicle

Bitfury is not the only Bitcoin mining firm which came up with the idea of offering Bitcoin exposure through part ownership in mining farms. Prior to Bitfury, Chinese mining company Canaan also offered a similar investment opportunity before its listing on Nasdaq, however, its legal trouble did not allow it to become a known choice of investors.

Institutional clients have always preferred an alternative investment vehicle to the spot market and most of them do not want to directly take custody of Bitcoin fearing the volatile market might get triggered by their behavior. Thus, these big investors always look for alternative exposure to Bitcoin to get exposure to one of the most profitable assets over the past decade.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

265-Year-Old German Bank To Use Stellar’s Blockchain To Tokenize Securities With Bitbond

German Bank von der Heydt, which was established in 1754, made on Monday the announcement that it’s developing a special-purpose Euro stablecoin.

The aim of this stablecoin will be to make tokenized securities private placements easier for investors. The bank closed a partnership with Bitbond, the blockchain financial services provider, in order to integrate tokenization into its platform. Digital securities are going to be tokenized onto the Stellar blockchain, so institutional clients will be able to make private placements.

Tokenization Eliminates Frictional Costs

According to the bank, tokenization eliminates frictional costs associated with equity sales. This is what a bank’s representative wrote on Monday:

“Securities can be traded directly without an intermediary, making financing much cheaper and less complicated.”

Custody Solution Already Developed

It seems that at the moment, von der Heydt has no plans to give the broad public access to its platform. Back in 2019, it developed with Bitbond a custody solution for clients to safely store tokenized equity. BaFin, the German financial regulator approved this custody solution after the law was changed and started to require a license for crypto custody providers. Investors will be given the option to purchase tokenized equity with the von der Heydt-issued Euro stablecoin. Stablecoins will be converted from Euros and stored in the custody solution provided by the bank.

Digital Euro Payments Will Happen in Real-Time and Faster

Bitbond’s CEO and founder Radoslav Albrecht said the beginning of April will mark the deployment of the production version and that:

“Digital euro payments will happen much faster, there will be a real-time, on-chain DvP and the bank doesn’t need to involve a third-party paying agent but can provide everything independently.”

DvP stands for delivery versus payment of securities. Bitbond’s tokenized bond was approved by BaFin in January 2019. The blockchain financial services provider launched the first security token offering (STO) that was regulated in Germany later in 2019.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Overstock Rolls On State-of-the-Art Blockchain R&D Campus In Ireland, Over $1.1 Million Invested

US e-commerce and tech giant Overstock has announced that it has established a blockchain research and development center that will be based in Ireland.

In a press statement issued on Oct. 9, the company revealed that the new R&D base will be situated in ‘IDA’s flagship North West business park in Sligo’. The statement also stated that the center will employ its hundredth employee who will be Irish before the end of the year. At the moment, the center boasts of approximately 80 technologists.

The press statement also stated that the new R&D center in Ireland is worth more than €1 million ($1.1 million). According to the firm’s vice president who also doubles as the site head, David Kenny, the company was excited with the opening of the new center that will see all the teams under the same roof. Kenny explained that the new center was a validation of Overstock’s preference of the North West as a friendly area for business and the creation of high-performance teams for software development.

He added that the blend of varied career paths as well as high-quality tech environment coupled work-life balance had gone won excellently with the techies. This, he stated, was an added incentive for the numerous individuals who have continued to be part of their team.

Here is his exact quote:

“We’re absolutely delighted with our new home and getting all our teams back under one roof. It further validates Overstock’s choice of the North West as a great place to do business and build high performance software development teams. The combination of a diverse career path, a cutting edge tech environment and a great work life balance has really resonated with the techies who continue to join our growing team.”

The press statement was also categorical in that the new center will not only focus on blockchain but also on emerging innovations within the e-commerce sector as well as the machine learning domain.

Despite the opening of the new center, not all is smooth with the company. The tech giant is embroiled in a controversy which has contributed to negative effects on its reputation. A fresh complaint has been filed in Utah alleging that the immediate former Overstock CEO, Patrick Byrne as well as the former CFO Greg Iverson were in the middle of a securities fraud. In this case, it remains unclear whether the opening of the new R&D center will add to the company’s fortunes.

Cointelegraph reports that Overstock is following in the footsteps of IT firm Cisco which opened an innovative center in Singapore in February that also focuses on blockchain.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

MoneyGram Is Using XRP In Cross-Border Settlements, Reveals Q2 Report

MoneyGram Is Using XRP In Cross-Border Settlements, Reveals Q2 Report
  • Ripple and MoneyGram established a partnership on June 17th, 2019.
  • The new partnership is expected to help with working capital needs, while improving profits.

MoneyGram has long been one of the largest money transfer companies in the world, so why wouldn’t they take an opportunity to partner with Ripple? Their collaboration just began on June 17th, and the entire XRP community has been abuzz, gossiping over if XRP would be included in the new partnership. To settle any confusion, MoneyGram’s Q2 report reveals that the suspicions are a reality.

More specifically, the report states,

“The commercial agreement allows MoneyGram to utilize Ripple’s xRapid blockchain product, as well as XRP, Ripple’s cryptocurrency, to facilitate cross-border settlement.”

Ultimately, the company believes that the partnership will make it possible to reduce their working capital needs, while bringing in new earnings.

The cryptocurrency community has welcomed the new collaboration with open arms, as has MoneyGram.

Alex Holmes, the CEO of MoneyGram, even called the partnership a “perfect marriage” that would ultimately speed up different processes in the firm. Ripple needs more companies on board with their network, which is where MoneyGram comes in. However, by partnering with Ripple, MoneyGram also makes Ripple into an ally, rather than an enemy, in the payment remittance sector.

As a result of the commercial agreement, Ripple purchased $50 million worth of MoneyGram shares, which are presently priced at $4.10 per share. The agreement states that MoneyGram has the option of selling $20 million more in equity to Ripple between now and June 30th, 2020.

The Global Remittance Market Report shows that MoneyGram International Inc., among others, will play a big role in the rapid growth of the remittance market in the next five years. Involving Ripple in this advancement can only lead to positive outcomes for all parties involved. To view the full report and forecast, visit here.

At the time of writing, Ripple’s native token (XRP) was valued at $0.311004, losing 1.71% in value through the last 24 hours. However, XRP still has a $13.33 billion market cap.

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Author: Krystle M

Winklevoss-backed Gemini Exchange Applies for Broker-Dealer License for Crypto Security Trading


Being established and headed up by the well known Winklevoss twins – Gemini is gearing up to apply for its own license to operate as a broker and dealer from the United States’ Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), according to news sources this week.

For the company, and exchanges overall, this represents a pretty interesting step forward in becoming a legally recognized Alternative Trading System, allowing their customers to easily trade digital securities along with digital assets.

In the past, the Gemini partnered up with the tokenized securities organization known as Harbor. The partnership in question allows institutional investors between both to purchase a range of securities with the Gemini affiliated stablecoin – GUSD – while also receiving dollar-denominated dividends with this same coin. With this already existing partnership providing an in-road for securities, it makes perfect sense for Gemini to look towards trading securities on its own.

Harbor’s CEO, Joshua Stein, discussed the kind of institutional investment that persists over 2019 during an interview back in February of the same year. Specifically, Stein explained that brokers, family officers along with investment banks, have demonstrated that they are “interested at a significant level” in the kind of potential associated with tokens. This remained the case even during the times when the regulatory climate for tokens became frigid over the course of 2017’s market craze.

Over the course of this year, the platform has placed a special emphasis on the kind of potential that these security tokens have in the world of real estate as well as startup equity fundraising,

“The [Gemini] team is very easy to work with and we are aligned in terms of taking a proactive regulatory approach and addressing the needs of the institutional players in the market,” this is according to a discussion held by Kevin Young, the marketing lead for Harbor.

So what is the first step for Gemini here? According to an internal source that’s savvy to Gemini, is that it intends to permit securities from a range of third party platforms such as Harbor, allowing them to eventually be traded through Gemini. While this is a good plan of attack, there is still the outstanding issue of obtaining the necessary approvals, which will take some time.

The whole process of getting approvals for a solution like this shouldn’t take too long with the support of a supportive regulatory body. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case with the FINRA, which has so far proven itself to be recalcitrant when it comes to actually approve broker-dealer applications from crypto securities companies.

The organization itself has effectively stonewalled more than 40 separate applications, leaving them with waiting times of more than 14 months. It’s because of this that the climate for Gemini is looking more overcast as opposed to being sunny. But time will tell if Gemini can become a trailblazer for tokenized securities.

Gemini has already made some pretty impressive progress, having already qualified on a state level to provide custodial service for digital assets, an approval that the company received back in 2018 thanks to the New York Department of Financial Services.

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Author: James Fox