Bhutan’s bold bet on cryptocurrencies?

According to “Forbes” report, Bhutan, once known as “the happiest country in the world”, has quietly invested tens of millions of dollars in Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital assets in the past year, but has always been tight-lipped , Bhutan’s bet on cryptocurrencies was unknown to the world until BlockFi, Celsius disclosed their investments in bankruptcy filings.

According to court documents, Druk Holding & Investments (Druk), a sovereign investment institution owned by the Kingdom of Bhutan’s government, was a client of bankrupt cryptocurrency lending companies BlockFi and Celsius, but has not publicly disclosed these facts.

Druk was established in 2007 under the royal charter of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan to protect the country’s wealth in the “long-term interests of the shareholders, the people of Bhutan”. While the agency bills itself as a sovereign wealth fund, it operates more like a state-owned enterprise, with $2.9 billion in assets under management.

Last month, BlockFi lawyers filed a lawsuit against Druk alleging that the institution defaulted on $30 million in loans. BlockFi’s statement states that in February 2022, Druk agreed to borrow $30 million in USDC, but then “failed and refused” to repay the loan in full, even after liquidating 1,888 bitcoins ($76.5 million at the time of the loan). ), Druk also still has an outstanding balance of $820,000.

In response to the above news, Druk CEO Ujjwal Deep Dahal responded: “BlockFi’s problem has been resolved. Due to confidentiality reasons, we cannot comment.”

Additionally, Druk was revealed to be an institutional client of Celsius. Last October, Celsius released a document containing more than 14,000 pages of user data detailing users’ account names, addresses and transactions.

The records show that Druk and an account dubbed the “Druk Project Fund” conducted numerous transactions between April 2022 and June 2022 — depositing, withdrawing, and borrowing bitcoin, ether, USDT, and a handful of other cryptos. During this period, Druk has withdrawn more than $65 million and deposited nearly $18 million in digital assets.

Druk declined to say where the funds came from or how they were spent.

Druk has also reportedly been secretly cultivating a cryptocurrency portfolio since at least 2022. “Forbes” believes that for a holding company designed to promote domestic venture capital investment, Druk has invested tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency. sovereign wealth funds.

However, Duncan Bonfield, CEO of the International Sovereign Wealth Fund Forum, denied this claim, saying: “We have not seen real interest in cryptocurrencies as an asset class, and we do not believe that any of our members have any interest in their portfolios.” Password configured.”