- Ripple's acquisition plan to grab a company with a New York trust charter will expand the business it's allowed to conduct in the U.S., potentially letting it move beyond its well-known role as a payments network.
- The deal – Ripple's second recent purchase of a custody business – must still be approved by the New York regulator.
Ripple struck a deal to acquire Standard Custody & Trust Co., the company said Tuesday, in order to secure a New York trust charter in an ongoing expansion of its U.S. regulatory licensing.
Despite Ripple's overseas focus and its high-profile legal clash with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has so far mostly gone against the regulator, the global payments company is still trying to stretch its capabilities in the U.S. The limited purpose trust charter held in New York by the company Ripple is buying will let it offer more in-house services, including to financial firms seeking to tokenize assets. The company is trying to push beyond the payments network it's known for and into other financial products in which their institutional customers can benefit from blockchain technology.
"We want to offer more and more of these infrastructure pieces to these financial institutions," said Ripple President Monica Long in an interview with CoinDesk. "We see this as giving us a lot of flexibility."
She called it a long-term project, and she said Ripple is also still seeking to complete the rest of its U.S. money transmission licensing.
The deal with Standard Custody & Trust, for which Ripple has declined to disclose terms and which is still awaiting approval from the New York Department of Financial Services, adds a crypto custody and settlement business to Ripple's stable. That would let customers maintain custody with Ripple instead of having to go to an outside partner.
Ripple is known in the U.S. for going toe-to-toe with the SEC in federal court over the regulator's accusations that XRP was a security. Though one judge has largely ruled on Ripples' side, the case will continue to be fought in higher courts. Long said the company's hesitation about the U.S. isn't as much about that specific clash as it's about the regulatory uncertainty over digital assets.
"But the U.S. is a major market, and we believe it's possible for the U.S. to emerge as a leader in driving innovation," she said.
This latest Ripple acquisition follows a deal last year in which Ripple bought another cryptocurrency custody firm, Metaco.
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