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Ripple Buys Swiss Crypto Startup Amid US Regulatory Uncertainty

Financial technology company Ripple acquired Switzerland-based crypto custody firm Metaco as U.S. crypto firms look overseas amid a regulatory crackdown at home.1

CNBC. “Crypto firm Ripple buys Swiss startup as SEC crackdown forces companies to consider overseas moves.”

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • U.S.-based fintech firm Ripple acquired Swiss crypto custody service provider Metaco.
  • The deal is said to provide Ripple with increased exposure to regulatory environments outside the U.S. and enable it to offer a larger suite of crypto products and services.
  • Crypto firms in the U.S. are facing enforcement actions and a perceived lack of regulatory clarity.
  • Coinbase and Gemini have also recently made moves to diversify global footprint.

While terms weren’t disclosed, the company tapped into $250 million of its own cash on hand to make it happen. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse called it “the largest deal we’ve seen in the last year.” The acquisition is expected to increase Ripple’s suite of crypto products and services, as well as provide access to major Metaco clients such as Citi and BBVA.

“We’re going to play offense,” he said.

The deal will increase Ripple’s international presence at a time when enforcement actions are forcing crypto companies to exit the U.S. market.

Ripple was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2020 for issuing the digital asset XRP without proper registration. Garlinghouse has said he doesn’t expect a final ruling for some months. He estimates the company will spend more than $200 million fighting the SEC’s charges.2

Ripple isn’t the only crypto business looking to stretch outside the U.S. Last month, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong suggested his company could relocate outside the U.S. if regulations weren’t clarified in the coming years. The company is expanding into new jurisdictions, receiving a license to operate in Bermuda last month.3 Also in April Gemini established an Asia Pacific business, including an engineering center in Gurgaon, India, to be led by Global CTO Pravjit Tiwana.45

Binance recently left Canada in response to new regulations on the crypto industry there.6

The European Union yesterday adopted its own crypto regulatory framework in the form of Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA), which has drawn praise from crypto firms seeking clarity. Coinbase called MiCA’s approval “a pivotal moment for crypto in the region.”

“The work of European policymakers should be held up as an example,” the company said in a statement.3

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