A leader in the cryptocurrency industry, Barry Silbert is the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), a collection of five companies that concentrate on various segments 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. 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 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 has over 650,000 BTC as of September 2021. Investors can access Bitcoin without having to acquire or store it themselves through GBTC. 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. 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. 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 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. After failing to repay its creditors, including Gemini Trust Co., a crypto exchange and trust company owned by the Winklevoss twins, Genesis Global Capital 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. DCG and Silbert lied about Genesis Global Capital’s risk management practices and vetting process of counterparties, according to Gemini Trust Co.
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 claimed that a “character assassination campaign” against DCG and Silbert was engaged in by Gemini Trust Co. and the Winklevoss twins. The case is still pending in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.[