DN’s report, which was published last night, says that the Norwegian billionaire has done a complete 180 on Bitcoin. Apparently, on March 18, Spetalen had this to say about Bitcoin at the (virtual) DB Invest conference:
“The only thing I have made an analysis of is that bitcoin today consumes as much energy as all of Norway’s energy consumption. It is extremely environmentally hostile. If one really meant anything about bitcoin, the authorities and the EU should ban this immediately. Then you cut CO 2 emissions considerably, he says, and describes it as a nonsense currency.
“It’s just nonsense. We are doing well with the payment systems that are in place today.“
10 days earlier, Norwegian industrial giant Aker ASA had announced that it had “established Seetee AS (‘Seetee’), a new company dedicated to investing in projects and companies throughout the Bitcoin ecosystem.”
“I want to state upfront that I am aware that Bitcoin is often criticised for a number of perceived challenges, including its electricity consumption, its inability to scale with respect to transactions, and its potential to facilitate anonymous illegitimate payments. We believe that Bitcoin can be a solution rather than a problem for each of those.“
He then explained why Aker had decided to get into the Bitcoin space:
“Aker’s decision to enter Bitcoin through Seetee is the result of a long and fundamental discussion about value. I have been drinking from the firehose since last summer. While this letter is my way of expressing my thoughts on the matter, my insights are largely derived from reading articles and books, listening to podcasts and watching videos, as well as conversations with people around me.“
He then went on to say that Aker had decided that not investing in Bitcoin would be the riskiest decision:
“Risk is not an obvious concept. What’s commonly considered risky is frequently not. And vice versa. We are used to thinking that cash is risk free. But it’s not. It’s implicitly taxed by inflation at a small rate every year. It adds up. Central bankers have magically agreed that they should target two percent inflation, which implies that one third of your money’s worth is taxed away every twenty years. If it was three percent, almost half of it would be gone in that time.“
Røkke later added: “We believe bitcoin is going to be on the right side of history. But we should remind ourselves that some will resist forcefully: Norway was the last country in Europe to adopt colour tv in 1972, several years after the technology was available.“
Now, however, it seems that Spetalen has changed his mind about Bitcoin, perhaps in no part due to seeing fellow Norwegian billionaire Røkke get into Bitcoin.
According to DN’s report, this is what he said during a recent interview with Norwegian business newspaper Finansavisen:
“When the facts change, I change. I met the Miraiex founders Thuc and Øyvind the day after the podcast was recorded in early March and realized that I had been wrong. And when I also read that Kjell Inge Røkke had gone into bitcoin, it was quite obvious. Can’t bear to see that Røkke makes money and not me.“
Spetalen also told Finansavisen that he had invested in Bitcoin.