Ripple Acquires Bitstamp Shares: Bold Move Sparks Speculation, Raises Eyebrows

The acquisition of Bitstamp shares by Ripple Labs, as advised by Galaxy Digital Holdings in Q1 2023, has generated intrigue within the crypto community. The deal, appearing amidst market slump led by FTX, was revealed during Galaxy Digital’s recent shareholder earnings report.

A Strategic Acquisition

Ripple’s move to acquire shares in Bitstamp from Pantera Capital raises questions regarding the blockchain company’s motives. Industry insiders have speculated that the acquisition may be tied to Ripple’s objectives for its Liquidity Hub (LH) or On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) functions.

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The Chief Legal Officer of Ripple, Stuart Alderoty, clarified that LH, Ripple’s latest product, is designed for institutional, not retail use. Despite minimal liquidity for XRP in the U.S. due to regulatory hurdles, Ripple remains committed to integrating XRP into LH where necessary.

The San Francisco-based blockchain firm emphasized that LH was developed to accommodate a variety of digital asset liquidity types, further underlining Ripple’s intent to maintain XRP’s role within the ODL, which has been operating for several years.

Galaxy Digital’s Q1 Performance

The Q1 report indicated an income of $129.9 million from trading, a remarkable 257% increase QoQ, primarily attributable to net gains from digital assets and derivatives.  The report also revealed that Galaxy Digital had more than 280 active counterparties, onboarded more than 30 new counterparties, and saw an approximately 85% QoQ increase in counterparty trading volumes.

Unraveling Ripple’s Intent

Ripple’s purchase of the Bitstamp shares indicates its determination to expand. Galaxy Digital’s President and CIO, Christopher Ferraro, underscored the strategic move during a recent shareholder update call.

Bitstamp has been a consistent partner of Ripple for ODL, and its integration of EUR-backed IOUs into the XRP Ledger in January extended its services on the platform. 

This could be Ripple’s move to further bolster its offerings, considering its recent purchase of digital asset custody firm Metaco to venture into the custody and tokenization industry.