Norwegian Bank Invests in Crypto Exchange Founded by Airline Magnate

Daniel Palmer
Sep 3, 2019 at 12:30 UTC
Updated Sep 4, 2019 at 07:29 UTC
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A Norwegian savings bank dating back to the mid-1800s has just invested in a cryptocurrency exchange set up by local business magnate Bjørn Kjos.

In a press release posted on the Oslo Stock Exchange, Sparebanken Øst said it had taken a 16.3 percent stake in Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX) for 15 million Norwegian krone (around $1.638 million).

NBX was revealed to be in development in April of last year, after being founded by Kjos and his family. Bjorn’s son Lars Ola Kjos – apparently a fan of bitcoin – was also involved in setting up the company, while his son-in-law, Stig Aleksander Kjos-Mathisen, is running the platform. NBX launched for limited user testing in mid-August.

With Bjorn the founder and former CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle, the top Scandinavian airline is expected to tie up with NBX to offer cryptocurrency payments for flight tickets.

In its investment announcement, Sparebanken Øst said:

“Possible collaboration with the airline Norwegian Air Shuttle, a key player with NBX, could be a platform for launching new solutions on a mass scale, and the bank sees great market potential both nationally and internationally.”

The bank added that, in backing in NBX, the exchange “will offer solutions that will equip the bank to manage competition and future-oriented solutions for its customers.”

Bjorn Kjos image via Norwegian Air/Kristoffer Sandven