Sparebanken Øst has been in operation for over 150 years. The Norwegian savings bank dates its roots back to the mid-1800s, but that does not mean that they are averse to joining the modern age, as it was announced that they have purchased a 16.3% share in the Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX), an exchange founded by airline magnet Bjørn Kjos.
In a press release posted on the Oslo Stock Exchange, it was reported that the savings bank spent 15 million Norwegian krone, or about $1.638 million to purchase the shares in the block exchange service. NBX had been in development since April 2018 under the founding of Kjos and other members of his family, including his son Lars Ola Kjos.
It was revealed that the younger Kjos has been enamored with cryptocurrency for quite some time, and he became the leader in setting up the exchange operation. The service was offered with limited testing in mid-August and has been doing quite well ever since.
Bjørn Kjos is the founder and the former CEO at Norwegian Air Shuttle, which is the top airline in Scandinavia. When he founded the exchange, his vision was that customers would be able to use the NBX as a means to purchase airline tickets using cryptocurrency as the payment.
That has been successfully accomplished as the airline has been looking for a means to turnaround dismal numbers. In 2018, it was announced that the airline suffered losses of $170 million, and it was hoped that the acceptance of cryptocurrency payments would entice customers to use the airline because of this additional payment method being offered.
Sparebanken Øst bank explained: “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.”
This is where the Norwegian bank is looking at this investment as a means to them increase their viability against the competition. The bank included in the statement that they “will offer solutions that will equip the bank to manage competition and future-oriented solutions for its customers.”
It is hoped that this foray into the exchange will help to bolster the Norwegian bank. Earnings-per-share at Sparebanken Øst have been down recently, but it is expected that this investment should help to bolster confidence in the bank.
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