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Saudi Aramco joins oil blockchain platform VAKT

By Lawrence Gash

World's largest energy firm buys into trading company

Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-backed oil and gas firm, has bought into the blockchain-based trading platform VAKT with $5m (£3.85m, €4.5m) in new shares.

The platform specialises in facilitating post-trade process and has been up and running for a little over a year. VAKT currently focuses on the key North Sea crude oil grades used to set benchmark dated Brent Crude.

Aramco will join other energy giants such as BP, Equinor and Shell who founded VAKT along with Koch Supply & Trading, ING, Societe General among others.

By attracting investment from the largest energy company in the world VAKT hopes to accelerate its expansion, particularly in Asia. As well as funding Aramco has given VAKT a further vote of confidence by announcing that its trading subsidiary, Aramco Trading, will use the platform.

Such prominent interest and investment only highlights the growing utility of blockchain technology after it was first pioneered by cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) a decade ago.

This is not the first time that Aramco has show an interest in blockchain. In spring last year the company participated in a $6m funding round for Data Gumbo, an American blockchain start-up.

Aramco’s 2019 initial public offering was the largest on record, and is a central part of the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s "Saudi Vision 2030" project which seeks to modernise and diversify the kingdom’s economy.

Nonetheless, following an initial spike the company’s share price has fallen from its initial 35 riyals per share. It is down since the start of 2020, currently standing at 34.25 riyals.

FURTHER READING: Oil price predictions for 2020 and beyond

FURTHER READING: Saudi Aramco raises $25.6bn in record IPO

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