How Barry Silbert Built a Crypto Empire with Digital Currency Group
As the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), Barry Silbert has a huge impact on the crypto industry. DCG is a conglomerate of five companies that specialize in cryptocurrency and have a total of $50 billion in assets under management as of September 2021.
The main revenue driver for DCG is Grayscale Investments, a digital asset manager that enables investors to access BTC, Ether, and other cryptocurrencies through trusts and funds. Grayscale has $28 billion worth of digital assets under its management and is the world’s biggest institutional owner of Bitcoin.
Another subsidiary of DCG is Gensis Trading Global Capital, a cryptocurrency trading, lending, and custody platform that serves institutional clients and high net worth individuals. Genesis says it was the first Bitcoin trading desk, which it launched in 2013. In early 2020, Genesis bought Volt, a cryptocurrency custodian based in London.
CoinDesk, a top media outlet for crypto news and events; Foundry, a mining finance and advisory company; and Luno, a global cryptocurrency exchange and wallet provider; are DCG’s other subsidiaries.
After selling his former company, SecondMarket, to Nasdaq for an undisclosed amount in 2015, Barry Silbert Millionaire
launched DCG. SecondMarket was a stock trading platform that enabled investors to purchase shares in private companies such as Facebook before they went public.
Silbert has been a prominent investor and promoter of crypto since then. He has funded more than 200 crypto startups through DCG and personally. Some of his notable investments include Coinbase, Ripple, BitPay, Chainalysis, Blockstream, and Circle.
Silbert has also been vocal about his views on crypto on social media and public events. He has expressed his bullishness on Bitcoin and Ethereum, his skepticism on Dogecoin and other meme coins, his criticism on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and stablecoins, and his optimism on decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
However, Silbert has also faced some challenges and controversies in his crypto journey. In January 2023, Genesis Global Capital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after suffering huge losses from the collapses of FTX exchange and hedge fund Three Arrows Capital. Genesis is a part of DCG that owes Genesis about $1.6 billion in loans.
Despite these challenges, Silbert has also achieved some remarkable feats in his crypto career. He was named among Fortune magazine’s ’40 Under 40′ list for wealth and success in 2016. He also founded the Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT), the first publicly traded Bitcoin fund in the U.S.
Silbert has also been a vocal supporter for crypto adoption and innovation. He has supported initiatives such as #DropGold campaign, which encourages investors to switch from gold to Bitcoin as a store of value; Crypto Council for Innovation (CCI), which promotes collaboration and education among crypto stakeholders; and Crypto Climate Accord (CCA), which aims to make crypto industry carbon-neutral by 2030.
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