Ripple Acquires Swiss-based Metaco, Sets Sights on $10T Institutional Crypto Custody Market

Ripple, the global provider of blockchain-based payment systems, has announced its acquisition of Metaco, a Swiss provider of digital asset custody and tokenization technology, according to a press release from Ripple’s official website.

This strategic move is in response to the predicted growth of the institutional crypto custody market, anticipated to reach an impressive $10T by 2030, and Ripple’s recognition of the growing demand for enterprise crypto services.

Ripple’s CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, referred to the acquisition as a “monumental” move that will significantly augment the company’s growing product suite and extend its global footprint. Ripple and Metaco share a common objective: offering secure enterprise-grade solutions to top-tier institutional clients. The acquisition is set to provide Ripple’s customers with the technology needed to issue, custody, and settle any kind of tokenized asset, advancing its enterprise offerings.

Established for over a decade, Ripple has consistently addressed the multi-trillion-dollar challenges in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. The company’s expansion, from cross-border payments and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) to liquidity management and tokenization, demonstrates its continuous innovation and growth. The integration of Metaco’s solutions, aimed at issuing and settling tokenized assets, is the next evolution in Ripple’s product suite.

Metaco’s offering, Harmonize™, provides a secure, versatile custody infrastructure for institutions looking to expand into the crypto economy. Its solutions have been widely accepted by the world’s largest custodians, top-tier banks, financial institutions, and corporations. The technology is currently available in several jurisdictions, including Switzerland, Germany, Turkey, France, the UK, the US, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, among others.

Adrien Treccani, Founder and CEO at Metaco, expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership with Ripple, emphasizing that the collaboration would enable Metaco to leverage Ripple’s scale and market strength to achieve its goals more quickly.

The institutional interest in crypto custody is apparent, with several established financial institutions expressing their intent to enter this arena. For instance, BNY Mellon is currently offering digital asset custody services to US asset managers, while NASDAQ recently announced its plan to launch crypto custody services for Bitcoin and Ethereum by the end of Q2 2023.

The acquisition signals a bright future for crypto custody as more reputable financial institutions express their interest in the market. Ripple is poised to leverage this opportunity alongside Metaco to offer innovative services to customers, thereby strengthening its position as a leader in the realm of enterprise crypto solutions.


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US Regulator Crypto Custody Proposal Opposed

In response to the SEC’s proposal to amend its custody rule, the Blockchain Association and Andreessen Horowitz have filed letters of opposition. The Blockchain Association claimed that the rule would limit investment in digital assets and could leave investors’ assets at more risk. Meanwhile, Andreessen Horowitz stated that the rule could prevent registered investment advisers from transacting with crypto exchanges and violate the SEC’s duty of care requirements.

The proposal, which has not yet been approved by the SEC, aims to impose more stringent rules on investment advisers in the custody of assets, including crypto. The proposed measures include proper segregation of assets and annual audits from public accountants, among other transparency measures.

The SEC’s Chair, Gary Gensler, has specifically targeted crypto exchanges with the rule, claiming that some crypto trading platforms offering custody services are not qualified custodians. However, even within the SEC, Commissioner Hester Pierce has questioned the rule’s workability and breadth, suggesting that it appears to be targeting crypto and crypto-related companies.

The Blockchain Association and Andreessen Horowitz have both argued that the rule exceeds the SEC’s authority and would have a negative impact on investment in digital assets. They have also claimed that the proposed measures would prevent investment advisers from using crypto and could leave investors’ assets at greater risk.

Despite opposition from industry proponents and within the SEC itself, the proposal remains under consideration. It is yet to be seen whether the SEC will make any changes to the rule in response to the letters of opposition.


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The First Crypto Bank in Puerto Rico Rolls Out Digital-Asset Custody Service

FV (Fintech Ventures) Bank, a global financial entity registered in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, has launched a digital-asset custody service for seamless safeguarding and interoperability of crypto and fiat, according to Bloomberg. 

The crypto custody feature will first support Bitcoin (BTC). Later on, Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT), and USD Coin (USDC) will be incorporated in coming weeks, with plans to add more cryptocurrencies in the future. 

FV Bank finds itself in a rare playing field in the growing banking-meets-crypto industry, according to Steven Beattie.

The financial crime consulting and crypto risk leader at EY added:

“First movers are incredibly valuable. As a first mover you have a chance to change your competitive position across the industry. But being first creates some risk.”

Even though various cryptocurrency exchanges enable users to swap fiat for crypto, only a few US-regulated banks have this ability. 

Miles Paschini, FV Bank’s CEO, pointed out:

“Our primary goal since founding FV Bank has been to help drive blockchain technology innovation in financial services by offering institutional clients a technology solution seamlessly integrated into a regulated bank and trust model that offers traditional banking along with digital assets custody and settlement.”

FV Bank sees the digital-asset custody service as a stepping stone toward bridging the gap between the traditional financial sector and the crypto economy. Paschini added:

“We have also advanced best in class AML procedures for digital assets by combining traditional bank compliance functions with specialized blockchain analytics, to ensure we are positioned as a leader and role model for how banks can participate in the convergence of traditional financial services and the digital asset economy.”

Meanwhile, France-based BNP Paribas recently entered the crypto custody bandwagon, Blockchain.News reported.

As the second largest global bank in Europe, BNP Paribas partnered with Swiss-based crypto infrastructure firm Metaco to enable the offering of digital assets custody services to its customers. 

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Apollo Teams Up With Anchorage to Expand its Product Offering

Apollo Global Management, an American private equity firm with more than $30 billion in assets under management has inked a new partnership with Anchorage Digital for its crypto custody options.


The partnership between the duo has been an evolving one and as revealed by the latter firm, it will solely be in charge of safeguarding the crypto holdings of Apollo which is now deepening its feet into the Web3.0 world.

“Apollo is a leader in the alternatives industry, so their use of Anchorage’s custody platform is incredibly validating, and we expect this collaboration can set the bar for how institutions work with regulated digital asset banks like Anchorage to provide custody and other services for their crypto holdings. Being both nimble and secure with digital asset portfolios doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive–and we are confident this partnership will prove that,” said Diogo Mónica, Co-Founder and President, of Anchorage Digital.

The era where mainstream investment firms consider the crypto ecosystem as an alien offshoot of the financial industry is passed. Many institutional investors today are now exploring new and unique avenues by which they can join the bandwagon, and fulfill the demands of their existing customers while attracting new customers.

Apollo remains one of the major investment outfits pushing its boundaries with a steady entry into the Web3.0 space. While its custody relationship with Anchorage Digital dates back to 2021, the company dipped its feet into the industry some more when it joined the investors that bankrolled Anchorage when it raised $350 million in Series D funding last December.

While its crypto embrace is still shaping up, Apollo said its choice of Anchorage Digital as its primary strategic partner is based on the firm’s “strong emphasis on security and segregation of client assets,” as well as the “ease of use for asset managers to hold digital tokens.”

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Fidelity Set to Hire 100 Employees to Strengthen its Crypto Firm

Fidelity Digital Assets, the asset management Behemoth Fidelity’s cryptocurrency division, has disclosed its plans to hire 100 new employees in the next six months to strengthen its workforce. 


Chris Tyrer, the CEO of Fidelity Digital Assets Europe and Fidelity Digital Asset Management made this statement during a panel discussion at the Blockworks Digital Asset Summit earlier this week in London.

Tyrer said, “We’ve gone through a fairly aggressive hiring spree over the last 12 months and we probably, in excess, doubled the size of our organization, so we’re probably looking at adding another 100 over the next three to six months.” 

Recall that since its establishment, Fidelity Digital Assets offshoot has been actively involved in the crypto sphere. Again, the firm, which is in charge of $9.9 trillion, recently introduced an Ethereum index fund and developed a platform for digital trading assets alongside Charles Schwab and Citadel Securities.

Additionally, Fidelity Digital Assets, equally stated that to complement its current bitcoin trading and custody services, it will soon begin providing Ethereum to institutional clients. Before the announcement, the enterprise exclusively offered BTC trading services.

Hiring in Crypto Winter

Fidelity’s employment strategy is implemented at a time when numerous significant crypto companies are laying off employees. Recall that one of the oldest market makers in the sector, GSR, cut almost 10% of its personnel last week.

Similarly, the exchange hiring comes after many renowned cryptocurrency startups experienced executive departures. FTX, Kraken, Genesis, and NYDIG are leading crypto companies where top administrators have retired.

The Wall Street Journal reported back in May that Fidelity Digital Assets intended to hire 110 technical personnel and 100 customer service personnel this year.

Presently approximately 400 employees work with Fidelity Digital Assets according to Tyrer. He added that the platform services business, which includes everything from holding to trade execution, and the asset management firm are two independent entities.

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Fidelity Investments Unveils Plans to Expand Business by Hiring Crypto Savvy Staff

Fidelity Digital Assets, the cryptocurrency arm of Fidelity Investments, is set to additional onboard hands as it prepares for the growing demand in the digital assets ecosystem.


Primarily designed to cater to institutional investors, the crypto arm of the investment giant was established back in 2018, with Bitcoin (BTC) custody and trading services launched afterwards.

The digital currency ecosystem has grown remarkably from that time until now. To reposition itself to capture a good share of the market, Fidelity is set to hire 110 engineers and developers with blockchain expertise. These professionals will help the company build a robust crypto infrastructure that can also support Ethereum (ETH), the world’s second-largest digital currency.

Despite the fact that the cryptocurrency industry has taken a beating recently, fueled by the Terra blockchain crash, Fidelity Digital Assets head, Tom Jessop said the offshoot is focused on long-term structures that fuel growth.

“We’re trying not to focus on the downturns and focus on some of the long-term indicators,” such as demand from clients, Mr. Jessop said. “We are trying to build infrastructure for the future because we measure success over years and decades, not weeks and months.”

While Fidelity Investments currently boasts over 400 clients, including hedge funds and registered advisors, the firm plans to hire as many as 100 customer service agents to help provide the proper support.

Ideally, there has been growing competition in the digital currency ecosystem, and this has heightened the demand for skilled workers as many growing startups are being given massive funding and in turn, they offer experienced blockchain staff an ambitious growth path. 

Fidelity still has the name and the right industry history of attracting the best talents. However, the firm’s overall goal will be to be well-positioned to handle the demand as the digital currency ecosystem goes mainstream.

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Avalanche eyes 60% rally as AVAX price breaks out of bull flag

Avalanche (AVAX) strengthened its case for a potential upside run towards $160 in the coming sessions as it broke out of a classic bullish pattern earlier this week.

Dubbed “bull flag,” the pattern emerges when the price consolidates lower/sideways between two parallel trendlines (flag) after undergoing a strong upside move (flagpole). Later, in theory, the price breaks out of the channel range to continue the uptrend and tends to rise by as much as the flagpole’s height.

AVAX went through a similar price trajectory across the last 30 days, containing a roughly 100% flagpole rally to nearly $150, followed by over a 50% flag correction to $72, and a breakout move above the flag’s upper trendline (around $85) on Dec. 15.

AVAX/USD daily price chart featuring Bull Flag pattern. Source: TradingView

AVAX price continued rallying after breaking out of its bull flag range, reaching almost $120 on Friday but eyeing a further leg up towards its bullish continuation target near $160. The level appeared after adding the height of AVAX’s flagpole, which is around $75, to the current breakout point near $85.

A week full of bullish AVAX events

The recent buying period in the Avalanche market picked momentum also because of a flurry of positive catalysts this week.

AVAX jumped nearly 10.50% on Tuesday as Avalanche added the native version of USDC, a dollar-pegged stablecoin issued by Circle, on its blockchain.

Additionally, a report penned by Bank of America analysts published on Dec. 10, called Avalanche a viable alternative to the leading smart contract platform Ethereum. That coincided with AVAX gaining another 16%.

AVAX/USD daily price chart featuring key events in the week ending Dec. 19. Source: TradingView

On Thursday, AVAX rallied to its two-week high after BitGo, a crypto custodian with over $64 billion worth of assets under management, announced that it would support the token.

Nonetheless, a modest selloff at the local price top pushed AVAX lower. Th recover Friday as Avalanche announced that it has collaborated with web3 accelerator DeFi Alliance to launch a gaming accelerator program.

All the events mentioned above pointed towards the Avalanche ecosystem’s growth. For instance, with USDC, the project promised to provide a viable alternative to Ethereum’s highly expensive Tether (USDT) stablecoin transactions.

Moreover, by gaining BitGo as AVAX’s institutional custodian, Avalanche appears to be prepping for catering to accredited investors. Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo, explained:

“Institutional custody is not the same as retail custody, and BitGo wallets and custody were designed from the ground up to meet the needs of institutional investors, and BitGo is the only independent qualified custodian focused on building the right market structure and facilities to enable institutions to enter the digital asset space with confidence.”

AVAX price risks

One of the remaining downside risks around AVAX concerns the crypto market performance, on the whole.

In detail, AVAC rallied in a week that witnessed the entire cryptocurrency market capitalization lose more than $114 billion, with leading crypto assets Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) plunging over 7% and 5% week-to-date. Concerns over the Federal Reserve’s tapering plans catalyzed the market selloff.

Therefore, it appears that traders looked at AVAX as their short-term hedge against the crypto market drop, largely driven by a string of positive news. 

AVAX/BTC weekly price chart. Source: TradingView

Moreover, the AVAX/BTC pair was up nearly 40% week-to-date at around 0.00245 BTC at the time of writing, with the pair’s relative strength index (RSI) entering overbought territory. That could prompt AVAX to weaken against BTC in the coming sessions.

Related: ‘Monster bull move’ means whales could secure the next Bitcoin price surge

A similar outcome may be possible in AVAX/USD’s case as its weekly RSI treads near overbought levels.

AVAX/USD weekly price chart. Source: TradingView

However, the pair is likely to retain its bullish bias as long as it holds above its 20-week exponential moving average (20-week EMA) as support. As shown in the chart above, the green wave has been capping AVAX’s downside attempts since August 2020.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.