Ripple will buy crypto infrastructure start-up Fortress Trust in its second deal of 2023 for an undisclosed sum.
The deal, which Ripple told Blockworks was composed of “a mix of cash and equity,” will add another feather to Ripple’s cap of licenses with Fortress Trust’s Nevada Trust license.
“Licenses are a powerful enabler to build and deliver best-in-class customer experiences for enterprises using Ripple’s crypto infrastructure across our payments and liquidity solutions,” said Ripple President Monica Long in a company announcement Friday.
“Acquiring Fortress Trust affords us a lot of optionality to both improve the current customer experience in our existing products and explore new, complementary products — all in service of becoming the one-stop shop for enterprises looking to convert, store, and move value on blockchain around the world,” she said.
Ripple currently has more than 30 money transmitter licenses nationwide, as well as an NY Bitlicense and a major payment institution license in Singapore.
Fortess Trust tweeted about the deal Friday.
“We’re extremely pleased that Fortress Trust will be acquired by Ripple, one of the largest and most innovative companies in the industry — it’s a testament to the team and business that we’ve built in a short period of time,” the company wrote.
The deal marks the evolution of a relationship that began with a 2022 investment from Ripple in the then-new Fortress Trust. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said in a prepared statement Friday that he’s excited to “bring on this team and its technology to accelerate our business and continue pressing our advantage in the areas critical to crypto infrastructure.”
Ripple’s year has been busy in more ways than one. It acquired Swiss crypto custody firm Metaco in May for $250 million, and it saw an end to a yearslong battle with the SEC over the sale of its XRP token. A federal judge ruled in June that XRP is a security when it’s sold to institutional investors but not to the general public, handing over a partial win to both Ripple and the regulator that sued it in 2020.
Following the deal’s closure, which is subject to due diligence and regulatory approvals, Ripple plans to invest in Fortress Trust’s parent company Fortress Blockchain Technologies and its FortressPay services.