Digital Currency Group: The Crypto Conglomerate Led by Barry Silbert
With a conglomerate of five companies that focus on cryptocurrency and manage $50 billion in assets as of September 2021, Barry Silbert is a major force in the crypto space. He is the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), which oversees these companies.
Grayscale Investments, a digital asset manager that provides trusts and funds for investors who want to invest in Bitcoin, Ether, and other cryptocurrencies, is DCG’s main source of revenue. Grayscale manages $28 billion worth of digital assets and holds more Bitcoin than any other institutional investor in the world.
Gensis Global Capital is also part of DCG. It is a cryptocurrency trading, lending, and custody platform that caters to institutional clients and high net worth individuals. Genesis boasts that it was the first Bitcoin trading desk, which it started in 2013. Genesis purchased Volt, a London-based cryptocurrency custodian, in early 2020.
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.
Since then, Silbert has been an active investor and advocate for crypto. He has invested in 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 encountered some difficulties and disputes in his crypto journey. In January 2023, Genesis Global Capital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after enduring massive 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 obstacles, Silbert has also attained some notable 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 promoter 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.