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Ripple Acquires Swiss-Based Crypto Startup as Crypto Rules Remain Murky

Blockchain company Ripple announced on Wednesday that it has acquired Swiss-based firm Metaco, a company that securely stores digital assets on behalf of clients, in an effort to increase its clientele globally and diversify its offerings. Though the terms weren’t made public, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse revealed that the company spent $250 million for the deal, calling it the year’s largest acquisition.

Through the acquisition, Ripple will have access to the Harmonize infrastructure from Metaco as well as the capacity to safely hold, distribute and settle any kind of tokenized asset. In turn, Metaco has direct access to Ripple’s numerous clients, including BBVA and Citi, which could help it expand more quickly.

Ripple, which most recently had a market cap of $15 billion, will be the sole shareholder of Metaco, which will continue to operate as a separate business unit.

The announcement of the acquisition comes as the blockchain company fights a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The commission filed a lawsuit against Ripple in 2020 for issuing the virtual currency XRP without the appropriate registration. According to Garlinghouse, a final decision won’t come for a few months. He projects that the SEC allegations will cost the corporation more than $200 million to defend.

SEC chairman Gary Gensler has made it apparent that the commission has no plans to scale back on its robust enforcement efforts in the cryptocurrency market. According to Gensler, current securities regulations are already an excellent fit for cryptocurrencies.

However, some critics feel that the regulator’s efforts are shortsighted. Many insiders in the cryptocurrency business have been urging the U.S. Congress to establish a better regulatory framework to enable corporations understand how they can conduct themselves in a way that is morally and legally right.

Ripple is not the only cryptocurrency company attempting to expand outside of the United States. Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, hinted last month that if regulations weren’t clear in the ensuing years, his company would leave the country. The corporation is already expanding into other regions, and last month, it was granted a license to do business in Bermuda.

Gemini launched an Asia Pacific operation in April as well, including an engineering hub in Gurgaon, India, under the directorship of Pravjit Tiwana, the company’s global CTO.

Recently, the European Union enacted the MiCA guidelines, its own framework for regulating cryptocurrencies, a move that was welcomed by crypto companies seeking certainty. Coinbase hailed MiCA’s certification as a turning point for cryptocurrency in Europe.

These shifts in operational jurisdictions that Ripple and Coinbase are doing are likely to be closely followed by other industry actors such as HIVE Blockchain Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: HIVE) (TSX.V: HIVE) since it could potential reshape the crypto space.

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