May 17, 2023 - Economy

Ripple acquires Swiss-based custody firm for $250 million

Animated GIF of briefcase with dollar signs coming from it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Warren Buffett's investing maxim, "be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy," has inspired a longtime crypto denizen to dig in even as others are retreating.

Driving the news: Payments giant Ripple announced it would buy Swiss-based crypto custodian Metaco for $250 million in cash and equity deal.

Why it matters: "This is the first significant acquisition we have ever made," Brad Garlinghouse tells Axios, saying its investment in critical crypto infrastructure such as custody dovetails with Ripple's overall strategy in payments.

Zoom out: Ripple serves customers in over 55 countries, with payout capabilities in more than 70 markets.

  • Total XRP sales by Ripple, net of purchases, were $361.06 million in the March-end quarter vs. $226.31 million in the prior quarter, according to the company.

Details: Metaco was founded in 2015 and primarily provides custodial services to institutions, often going head-to-head with the likes of platforms like Fireblocks.

  • Its partnered with the likes of Citi, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas and their customers span jurisdictions, including Switzerland, Germany, Turkey, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and the Philippines, as well as others.

What we're watching: Ripple's years-long battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission will soon come to a conclusion, the timing of which will be determined by the courts.

  • Garlinghouse says he remains optimistic, though, it has cost Ripple about $250 million.

The bottom line: Ripple still has money to spend.

  • "We will still have $1 billion in cash after this deal, that puts us in a position to look at other deals," Garlinghouse said.
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