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. 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. Some of his notable investments include Coinbase, Kraken, Circle, Chainalysis, Etherscan, and 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 enables investors to access Bitcoin without having to purchase or store it themselves. GBTC is also the first digital currency investment vehicle to attain the status of an SEC reporting company.
Grayscale also has other products that follow 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. 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. Foundry also provides 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. Gemini Trust Co. sued DCG and Silbert in July 2023, accusing them of fraud and deception.
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. 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.
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.