Nexon Co., the South Korean online gaming company founded by billionaire Kim Jung-ju, said it has bought $100 million worth of bitcoin amid a rebound in the cryptocurrency.
Tokyo-listed Nexon joins a growing list of global companies, including Elon Musk’s electric carmaker Tesla, that have invested in the digital currency. Nexon’s bitcoin investment represents less than 2% of the company’s cash hoard as of December 2020.
“In the current economic environment, we believe bitcoin offers long-term stability and liquidity while maintaining the value of our cash for future investments,” said Owen Mahoney, president and CEO of Nexon.
The gaming giant has been on an investment spree since June last year, when it announced its plan to invest $1.5 billion in listed entertainment companies. So far, Nexon has invested $874 million in U.S. toy maker Hasbro and Japanese game companies Bandai Namco, Konami and Sega Sammy.
While bitcoin has been volatile, Mahoney said the investment “reflects a disciplined strategy for protecting shareholder value and for maintaining the purchasing power of our cash assets.”
Kim, who founded Nexon in 1994, was one of the biggest gainers on last year’s South Korea wealth rankings. He was ranked No. 3 with a net worth of $9.6 billion, up 52% from the previous year, as global lockdowns and social distancing gave people more time at home to play games. Major games published by Nexon include MapleStory, KartRider and Dungeon & Fighter.
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“I think we’re going to look back in 20 years and we’ll say [the pandemic] was the turning point in the entertainment industry,” Mahoney told Forbes Asia in a video interview in July.