Torbjørn Bull Jenssen is tall and soft-spoken with a calm demeanor to match. As the CEO of the Nordic crypto powerhouse, Arcane Crypto, Jenssen has no choice but to keep his cool. Walking in with a long-board in hand and his long hair in a neat bun, his appearance screams start-up. Yet, he is currently leading a team of ten employees, in which nine of them are located at their head office in the heart of Norway’s capital and one in Sweden, Jenssen is more than your average crypto-joe, he is renowned for being the country’s leading experts on bitcoin and blockchain technology.
Arcane Crypto is an investment and technology company. To some extent, it has similar attributes to an ordinary investment company but mainly differentiates itself by putting money purely in cryptocurrency and related projects.
Arcane builds partnerships and develops solutions related to the provision of financial services leveraging the power of cryptocurrencies. The company umbrellas, several distinct divisions, “we have trading and arbitrage, development and a media division which has Kryptografen, and looking at potentially opening a fund.“
Jenssens first introduction to cryptocurrency was about six years ago. His friend suggested he start investing in the phenomenon that is Bitcoin. What followed was an obsession, which then became a master’s thesis at the University of Oslo on the subject, titling it ‘Why Bitcoins Have Value, and Why Governments are Sceptical.’ After graduation he started working as an economist at Menon Economics, working with crypto outside of office hours, he even started hosting lectures on the subject. It didn’t take long before he realized that he could use his knowledge on the subject to help the companies he was consulting for with this open blockchain technology.
He was poached from Menon by a group of investors looking to diversify their portfolio. Kristian Lundkvist and Ketil Skorstad were primary owners and now share the company with Morten Klein. Jenssen describes them as “owners that come with a lot more than money but also with network and a wealth of knowledge.“
Kryptografen is both a Norwegian and English crypto news site. Its purpose is to educate an audience beyond those who are familiar with the crypto world. The content includes new innovations, research, and potential investment opportunities. Finding that a lot of the crypto news available feels rehashed, they wanted to give readers experiences in this realm or not a chance to get original and comprehensive content.
In 2018, bitcoin crashed. This caused extreme cynicism towards the supposed ‘dead‘ trend. For Jenssen, this is just the beginning. His company was founded only a short year ago they have plans to expand and quickly.
Jenssen takes the time to explain crypto to anyone interested in listening, “I want the dialogue to change. I hear people say all the time, ‘I don’t understand crypto that is why I don’t like it’, I want the dialogue to be more like, ‘I don’t understand, that’s why I don’t trust it’, it is a lot more productive and a constructive conversation can arise.’ Jenssen compares crypto to the internet, ”those who were skeptical towards the internet, eventually had to learn how to use it. I believe that the same thing will eventually those who are negative to crypto.”
So what hinders investors? Banks for one, ”as of now, there are no banks in Norway that accept cryptocurrency. There is more and more pressure on big banks from clients to be able to accept crypto products to sell and buy crypto. The banks are turning around and they need someone to help them create these relations.”
That is why Arcane has invested money in projects such as Pure Digital operating out of London, future solutions for banking with crypto; also known as an interbank market.
Norwegian Crypto Market
Norwegian Airline, recently announced that they will be test piloting the new Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX) that they are working together with. Making it easier for users to buy and use cryptocurrency. With this being said, Norway is still behind in regards to the ‘cryptosphere‘.
”We hope that Arcane will help contribute to the Norwegian crypto scene. We have invested in Sweden and in London. Arcane wants to partake in the Norwegian startup scene. We have started looking for something that we find interesting, but also find a team that is excited to have us on board. Arcane wants to help put Norway and northern Europe on the crypto map.”
So what are Jenssen hopes for Arcanes future? For one he hopes that people will stop asking him why we need crypto when we can just use Vipps or its American counterpart Venmo. According to Forbes 1.7 billion adults worldwide do not have access to a Bank Account.
Arcane is hoping that developing on Lightning Network, a second-Layer channel, it will become easier for those who do not have access to banks to send and receive instant for instant micropayments with cryptocurrency. Opening up a new market of possibilities. It will make it easier for people to use cryptocurrency without the use of a third party, such as a bank, in countries where financial institutions are harder to trust due to political turmoil and users are blocked due to strict regulation.
By leveraging bitcoin as a payment instrument, Jenssen has been able to buy solar panels in Africa for as little investment as 4000NOK and be able to receive the money generated right back into his digital wallet on a monthly basis. This due to transaction fees and third-party tariffs would be nearly impossible with traditional payment methods.
For Jenssen, the future is one where cryptocurrency and open blockchain technology is inevitably an integrated part of societies day-to-day.