Ripple takes the high road, Jan. 20-26

Blockchain payments company Ripple made it abundantly clear this week that it’s not letting its feud with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hold back its business plans. On Wednesday, the company announced it had repurchased all Series C shares that it issued to private investors back in December 2019 — even though a court ruling in 2021 said it didn’t have to.

This week’s Crypto Biz explores Ripple’s share repurchase and provides an overview of the biggest funding stories of the week. We also weigh a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposal by Valkyrie that seeks to provide exposure to the Bitcoin (BTC) mining arena. For a more fulsome discussion of this week’s business news, register for the Crypto Biz newsletter below. 

Ripple unveils $200M share repurchase

More than two years after raising $200 million in a Series C funding round, Ripple announced this week that it had repurchased all of the outstanding shares that were issued in the deal. Ripple said the share repurchase reflected the company’s “extremely strong position in the market” and “strong balance sheet.” The buyback also netted the company a whopping $15 billion valuation — all while it continued to fight a $1.38 billion lawsuit filed by the SEC. As Cointelegraph previously reported, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse expects the lawsuit to be resolved sometime in 2022.

Valkyrie files application for new Bitcoin mining ETF

In the absence of a full-fledged Bitcoin spot ETF, investors may be looking for alternative ways to gain exposure to the flagship digital asset. Crypto asset manager Valkyrie recently filed a Bitcoin Miners ETF with the SEC in a bid to provide diversified exposure to companies involved in Bitcoin mining. Valkyrie’s proposed fund would invest at least 80% of its net assets in companies that generate at least 50% of their revenue or profits from BTC mining. 

Related: SEC rejects application for Fidelity’s Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust spot ETF

FTX US valued at $8B following major funding round

It wouldn’t be a Crypto Biz recap without documenting yet another major funding announcement from the world of blockchain. Crypto exchange operator FTX US announced this week that it had closed a $400 million funding round, bringing its total valuation to $8 billion. The funding round is not unlike the $420 million raised by FTX’s global exchange in October 2021. FTX US clearly has big expansion plans in the United States, a country that dominates Bitcoin trading volumes, according to Arcane Research.

Related: Crypto infrastructure firm Fireblocks valued at $8B following $550M raise

BFF II to invest $75M in P2E and Web3 projects

Speaking of major funding news, Blockchain Founders Fund has launched a new venture portfolio that seeks to invest in projects at the intersection of crypto, Web3 and the metaverse. The Blockchain Founders Fund II, also known as BFF II, raised $75 million from various investors, including The Sandbox chief operating officer Sebastien Borget. The venture fund has already invested in 11 projects that include a layer-2 derivatives exchange, play-to-earn games and even a DeFi protocol. In other words, smart money is still investing in the major trends you likely first heard about in 2021.