China’s crypto billionaire stocks up on precious metals, gems and fine art

(Kitco News) Chinese crypto billionaire Jihan Wu is diversifying into physical assets, including precious metals, gems and fine art, with his recent purchase of what is dubbed Asia’s Fort Knox.

Bitdeer Technologies Holding Co., which Wu leads, paid $28.4 million to purchase Le Freeport, which is a state-of-the-art maximum security vault in Singapore designed and engineered by a team of Swiss architects and engineers. The news was reported by Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.

Jihan Wu is an influential figure in the crypto space. He founded Bitmain Technologies Ltd, which is the largest Bitcoin mining-machine manufacturer, with a revenue of $5.6 billion in 2021. Wu left the company last year and is now heading up its Bitcoin-mining spinoff Bitdeer and crypto-finance company Matrixport.

The vault’s depository includes gold and silver bars, precious gems, and fine art from shareholders headed up by Swiss art dealer and founder Yves Bouvier, the media report said.

The transaction was private and happened in July. Prior to this, Bouvier had been unsuccessful in trying to sell Freeport, located in Singapore near Changi airport.

Freeport began operations more than a decade ago, intending to appeal to customers such as collectors, wealth managers, and major bullion traders.

“The facility offers integrated services to handle the shipping, storage, display and trade of these valuables … Maximum security and 24/7 security access. Stringent security provisions include electronic monitoring of staff, clients and valuables as well as armed guards,” described Freeport’s website

According to the deal, Bitdeer is the sole shareholder of Straitdeer Pte., which now is the new owner of Asia Freeport Holdings Pte.

In another development, Wu is also forming a fund worth $250 million to buy up distressed assets from mining firms.

“We can buy the cheaper machines and run them in our existing facilities with stable and cost-effective power purchase agreements,” Bitdeer CEO Matt Kong told Bloomberg.

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