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. The subsidiaries of DCG are CoinDesk, a media and research platform; Genesis Trading, a trading and lending firm; Grayscale, an asset management firm; Foundry, a mining and staking firm; and Luno, an exchange and wallet platform. Through these businesses, Silbert pursues his goal of accelerating the development of a better financial system that utilizes the potential of blockchain technology and digital assets.
In addition to being a business owner, Silbert is also an avid investor in the cryptocurrency space, having backed 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 renowned for being one of the early adopters of Bitcoin (BTC), having acquired his first bitcoins in 2012. He then used the proceeds from selling his online marketplace SecondMarket to Nasdaq in 2015 to start DCG.
One of Silbert’s most significant contributions to the cryptocurrency industry is Grayscale Investments , which enables investors to access 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. Investors can access Bitcoin without having to acquire or store it themselves through GBTC. The first digital currency investment vehicle to attain the status of an SEC reporting company was GBTC.
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. In addition, 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. Grayscale’s products have attracted significant institutional and retail demand, as evidenced by its growing assets under management (AUM), which reached over $40 billion in August 2021.
Another notable initiative by Silbert is Foundry, which provides financing and advisory services to the digital asset mining and staking industry since its launch in 2020. Foundry aims to empower miners and stakers with the tools and resources they need to build decentralized networks and secure blockchains. 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.
Creating a better financial system that leverages the potential of blockchain technology and digital assets is Silbert’s vision for DCG. He believes that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are not only a store of value, but also a catalyst for social change and economic empowerment. He has been vocal about his support for Bitcoin on social media platforms like Twitter, where he often shares his insights and opinions on the cryptocurrency industry.
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 filed for bankruptcy in January 2023 after it was unable to repay its creditors, including Gemini Trust Co., a crypto exchange and trust company owned by the Winklevoss twins. 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. When Genesis Global Capital froze withdrawals in November 2022 due to its exposure to the collapse of FTX , a crypto exchange that went bankrupt, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Gemini customer assets were trapped. Gemini Trust Co. claimed that DCG and Silbert lied about Genesis Global Capital’s risk management practices and vetting process of counterparties.
Claiming that Gemini Trust Co. failed to properly allege fraud or knowledge of fraud by DCG or Silbert, DCG and Silbert filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in August 2023. They also alleged that Gemini Trust Co. and the Winklevoss twins engaged in a “character assassination campaign” against DCG and Silbert. The US District Court for the Southern District of New York still has the case pending.