Diversification in a company is almost never a bad idea, but is typically carried out in an area that is at least somewhat related to the core business. One company has decided to head in a completely different direction, though, in an effort to spread its wings. Norwegian Air, the largest budget airline in the country, is getting into the cryptocurrency business.
Norwegian Air has announced that it will launch a crypto exchange called the Norwegian Blok Exchange (NBX). In addition, it will also allow travelers to purchase their airline tickets using SegWitCoin (BTC) in an effort to attract more business. Both are expected be available as of next month, and the exchange could be offered in other countries as the platform is developed.
The exchange will be led by Stig A. Kjos-Mathisen, who told local news outlet Dagens Næringsliv (DN), “NBX’s customers are given the opportunity to earn cash points on trades on the stock exchange, as well as on payments made through the payment solution NBX stock for the airline.” According to his LinkedIn profile, Kjos-Mathisen is a board member for the Norwegian Computer Society Group for Blockchain and has been the managing director of the Norwegian Block Exchange AS since February 2018.
Norwegian Air is coming off a dismal 2018 that saw the company lose $170 million. Its founder and CEO, Bjørn Kjos, stepped down two weeks ago, handing the reins to his son, Lars Ola Kjos. The younger Kjos is a crypto fan who has invested in digital currency for a number of years. DN indicates that he owns more than $400,000 in BTC, most of which was purchased before November 2017.
Because of the continued low-level flying of Norwegian Air, its stock is down over 75% across the last 15 months. It had attempted to become a leader in long-range flights, but that segment never took off as expected. As crypto becomes more established and accepted — retail operations around the globe continue to adopt digital currencies as a payment solution — the company is looking to cash in on the popularity and draw in more customers in order to soar once again.
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