A leading oil corporation from Saudi recently invested $5 million towards a blockchain based startup dubbed ‘Vakt’. Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV), initiated the transaction through its investment wing and has since joined 11 other investors who were initially part of the project.
— Vakt Global (@VaktGlobal) January 28, 2020
Vakt’s blockchain solution is based on post-trade settlements in the energy sector having begun back in 2018 with BP and Shell at the forefront; the two companies were the first to be on-boarded. This blockchain network digitizes the processes that were physical throughout the buy and sell channel in the energy industry. As a result, Vakt’s innovation was acknowledged to be a game changer by SAEV’s Europe director, Hans Middelthon;
“VAKT has demonstrated that their platform has the potential to digitize what is currently a very manual process.”
“Leveraging blockchain theory and applying it to the complicated world of post-trade processing, VAKT has made a compelling pitch to become an integral part of market infrastructure.”
SAEV’s Strategic and Financial Impact on Vakt
The Saudi oil corporation involvement with Vakt will certainly improve the growth dynamics of this blockchain innovation. Vakt reported that they plan to use the $5 million proceeds in product development and market expansion. Currently, the network is live for blockchain services in the North Sea crude oil market. Saudi Aramco will further add to the trading volumes in this market once they integrate their North Sea volumes with Vakt’s network.
Vakt has also gained more reputational value given Saudi Aramco's financial muscle in the oil sector. The firm’s Initial Public Offering back in 2019 was $25.6 billion; reports indicate that this is the largest IPO figure so far in the history of financial markets. In addition, Saudi Aramco’s oil reserves are the world’s second largest according as of press date. Notably, the firm has other blockchain investments with American ‘Blockchain as a service’ startup ‘Gumbo’ leading the pack. Richard James, Vakt’s CFO, shared similar sentiments on the prospects of this investment;
“We were not proactively seeking further investors; however, we could not miss the chance to bring on-board a partner of this calibre, which is a tremendous show of faith in VAKT’s vision.”