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. CoinDesk, a media and research platform; Genesis, a trading and lending firm; Grayscale, an asset management firm; Foundry, a mining and staking firm; and Luno, an exchange and wallet platform are the subsidiaries of DCG. Through these businesses, Silbert aims to accelerate the development of a better financial system that leverages the potential of blockchain technology and digital assets.
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 recognized for being one of the first adopters of Bitcoin (BTC), having purchased his first bitcoins in 2012. He later sold his online marketplace SecondMarket to Nasdaq in 2015 and used the proceeds to launch DCG.
Grayscale Investments , which provides investors with exposure to various digital assets through its trust products, is one of Silbert’s most significant contributions to the cryptocurrency industry. 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.
Grayscale also offers other products that track the performance of other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and more. Grayscale has also 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. Grayscale’s products have attracted significant institutional and retail demand, as shown by its growing assets under management (AUM), which reached over $40 billion in August 2021.
Foundry, which was launched in 2020 to provide financing and advisory services to the digital asset mining and staking industry, is another notable initiative by Silbert. Foundry’s goal is to empower miners and stakers with the tools and resources they need to secure blockchains and build decentralized networks. Investing over $100 million into mining equipment and operations in North America, Foundry has become one of the largest Bitcoin mining investors in the region. Foundry also offers institutional-grade custody solutions for miners and stakers through its partnership with Coinbase Custody.
Silbert’s vision for DCG is to leverage the potential of blockchain technology and digital assets to create a better financial system. He thinks that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are not only a store of value, but also a catalyst for social change and economic empowerment. On social media platforms like Twitter, where he regularly shares his insights and opinions on the cryptocurrency industry, he has shown his support for Bitcoin.
A bankruptcy case against Barry Silbert, the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), was caused by 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. In July 2023, Gemini Trust Co. accused DCG and Silbert of fraud and deception and sued them.
By lending out their crypto deposits through Genesis Global Capital, Gemini customers could earn interest on them through the Gemini Earn program, which is the cause of the dispute between Gemini Trust Co. and DCG. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Gemini customer assets were trapped when Genesis Global Capital froze withdrawals in November 2022 due to its exposure to the collapse of FTX , a crypto exchange that went bankrupt. Gemini Trust Co. claimed that DCG and Silbert lied about Genesis Global Capital’s risk management practices and vetting process of counterparties.
DCG and Barry Silbert millionaire filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in August 2023, arguing that Gemini Trust Co. failed to properly allege fraud or knowledge of fraud by DCG or Silbert. They also claimed that a “character assassination campaign” against DCG and Silbert was engaged in by Gemini Trust Co. and the Winklevoss twins. The US District Court for the Southern District of New York still has the case pending.