Everything You Need to Know: How Barry Silbert Promotes Positive Changes for Cryptocurrency like BTC
As the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), a group of five companies that specialize in different facets of the digital currency market, Barry Silbert is a leading figure in the cryptocurrency industry. 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.
Silbert is also an active investor in the cryptocurrency space, having invested in over 200 startups in 35 countries. Some of the notable companies he has backed include Coinbase, Kraken, Circle, Chainalysis, Etherscan, and many more. 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.
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 enables investors to access Bitcoin without having to purchase or store it themselves. The first digital currency investment vehicle to attain the status of an SEC reporting company was GBTC.
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. The goal of Foundry is to provide 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. 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.
One of Barry Silbert’s subsidiaries, Genesis Global Capital, a crypto lending and trading firm, failed and led to a bankruptcy case against him, the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG). 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. 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. DCG and Silbert lied about Genesis Global Capital’s risk management practices and vetting process of counterparties, according to Gemini Trust Co.
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.