San Francisco-based Ripple Labs announced Tuesday that on the heels of a strong year it bought back the shares it sold in a 2019 fundraise and is now valued at US$15 billion.

Fast facts

  • The blockchain payments platform developer is in the middle of a 13-months-long lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charging that Ripple Labs sold the native token XRP as an unregistered security.
  • Ripple told Forkast in an email that its valuation has grown to US$15 billion from US$10 billion two years ago. Meanwhile, the price of XRP is more than 80% off its high of US$3.40 in 2018, currently trading around US$0.60, according to Coingecko.
  • The company said it is cash flow positive with US$1 billion in the bank and a strong balance sheet. Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse attributed the company’s 2021 growth in part to diversifying its business from cross-border payments platforms to trending technologies such as non-fungible tokens and central bank digital currencies.
  • “Even with 2021’s headwinds, it was our best year on record, and Ripple’s financial position ($1B in the bank) is the strongest we’ve ever been,” Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse wrote in a tweet announcing the buyback.
  • The NFT market accelerated in 2021 to US$22 billion from just US$100 million in 2020, according to DappRadar. Likewise interest in CBDCs is growing as 86% of central banks surveyed by the Bank of International Settlements last year are actively researching the the digital currency.
  • The big winner may be U.K. investor Tetragon, which was the lead investor of the Dec. 2019 Series C round that raised US$200 million. A year later Tetragon sued Ripple to force it to buy back its Series C shares after a decline in the share price following the initiation of the SEC lawsuit. Tetragon lost the suit and had to pay Ripple’s legal fees but now Ripple has voluntarily bought back those same shares at a premium.