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Sep 18, 2023 // By:aebi // No Comment
Barry Silbert is a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency industry, as he is the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), a conglomerate of five companies that focus on various aspects of the digital currency market. DCG’s subsidiaries include CoinDesk, a media and research platform; Gensis Trading, a trading and lending firm; Grayscale, an asset management firm; Foundry, a mining and staking firm; and Luno, an exchange and wallet platform. Silbert’s goal is to accelerate the development of a better financial system that harnesses the potential of blockchain technology and digital assets through these businesses.
Besides being an entrepreneur, Silbert is also a keen investor in the cryptocurrency space, having supported over 200 startups in 35 countries. He has invested in some notable companies such as Coinbase, Kraken, Circle, Chainalysis, Etherscan, among many others. Silbert is also known for being one of the earliest adopters of Bitcoin (BTC), having bought his first bitcoins in 2012. He subsequently launched DCG using the proceeds from selling his online marketplace SecondMarket to Nasdaq in 2015.
One of Silbert’s most significant contributions to the cryptocurrency industry is Grayscale Investments , which offers investors exposure to various digital assets through its trust products. Grayscale’s flagship product is the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which holds over 650,000 BTC as of September 2021. GBTC allows investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without having to buy or store it themselves. GBTC also attained the status of an SEC reporting company, becoming the first digital currency investment vehicle to do so.
Other products that track the performance of other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and more, are also offered by Grayscale. Additionally, Grayscale has launched several diversified products, such as the Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund, which invests in a basket of the largest digital currencies by market capitalization. As evidenced by its growing assets under management (AUM), which reached over $40 billion in August 2021, Grayscale’s products have attracted significant institutional and retail demand.
Another notable initiative by Silbert is Foundry, which was launched in 2020 to provide financing and advisory services to the digital asset mining and staking industry. Foundry aims to empower miners and stakers with the tools and resources they need to build decentralized networks and secure blockchains. Foundry has invested over $100 million into mining equipment and operations in North America, making it one of the largest Bitcoin mining investors in the region. Through its partnership with Coinbase Custody, Foundry also offers institutional-grade custody solutions for miners and stakers.
Creating a better financial system that leverages the potential of blockchain technology and digital assets is Silbert’s vision for DCG. Not only a store of value, but also a catalyst for social change and economic empowerment are what he considers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to be. He has expressed his support for Bitcoin on social media platforms like Twitter, where he frequently shares his insights and opinions on the cryptocurrency industry.
Barry Silbert, the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), is facing a bankruptcy case that stems from the failure of one of his subsidiaries, Genesis Global Capital, a crypto lending and trading firm. Genesis Global Capital was unable to repay its creditors, including Gemini Trust Co., a crypto exchange and trust company owned by the Winklevoss twins, and filed for bankruptcy in January 2023. Accusing them of fraud and deception, Gemini Trust Co. sued DCG and Silbert in July 2023.
The dispute between Gemini Trust Co. and DCG revolves around the Gemini Earn program, which allowed Gemini customers to earn interest on their crypto deposits by lending them out through Genesis Global Capital. Due to its exposure to the collapse of FTX , a crypto exchange that went bankrupt, Genesis Global Capital froze withdrawals in November 2022, trapping hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Gemini customer assets. According to Gemini Trust Co., DCG and Silbert lied about Genesis Global Capital’s risk management practices and vetting process of counterparties.
In August 2023, DCG and Silbert filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that Gemini Trust Co. failed to properly allege fraud or knowledge of fraud by DCG or Silbert. They also accused Gemini Trust Co. and the Winklevoss twins of engaging in a “character assassination campaign” against DCG and Silbert. The case is still unresolved in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.