Norwegian Savings Bank Invests in Local Crypto Exchange

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A Norwegian savings bank has invested in the Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX), a new cryptocurrency exchange set to launch in mid-September 2019. 

According to a press release, the bank Sparebanken Øst paid approximately $1.65 million (NOK15 million) for a 16.3 percent stake in NBX — a relatively small bet from the institution.

“While risk is high in NBX, the investment is financially marginal for the bank,” according to the release. “The bank believes that the ownership position in NBX is sound, based on the bank’s solidity and risk profile, and is responsible in relation to the bank’s needs and desire to take a leading role in technological developments in the industry.”

Founded by Norwegian airline mogul Bjorn Kjos, NBX began development in April 2018 with the intention of providing “secure, robust and scalable possibilities for digital trading and payment services,” per the release. 

In July 2019, Norwegian Air announced that customers of the airline could soon begin to purchase plane tickets using bitcoin. Sparebanken Øst disclosed that the possible collaboration with Norwegian Air could offer both national and international opportunities to launch products. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bank emphasized regulatory compliance as a key initiative for NBX going forward.

“It is important for Sparebanken Øst that the company can satisfactorily meet the quality requirements imposed by the authorities, including customer identification and anti-money laundering, with which NBX is aligned,” according to the release.