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.
DCG also owns Genesis Global Capital, a cryptocurrency trading, lending, and custody platform that targets institutional clients and high net worth individuals. Genesis claims to have been the first Bitcoin trading desk, launched in 2013. Genesis acquired Volt, a London-based cryptocurrency custodian, in early 2020.
The other subsidiaries of DCG are CoinDesk, a leading media outlet for crypto news and events; Foundry, a mining finance and advisory company; and Luno, a global cryptocurrency exchange and wallet provider.
Barry Silbert started DCG in 2015 after selling his previous company, SecondMarket, to Nasdaq for an undisclosed amount. SecondMarket was a stock trading platform that allowed investors to buy 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 communicated his views on crypto on social media and public events. He has demonstrated his bullishness on Bitcoin and Ethereum, his uncertainty on Dogecoin and other meme coins, his objection on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and stablecoins, and his excitement on decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
However, Silbert has also met some obstacles and conflicts in his crypto journey. In January 2023, Genesis Global Capital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after experiencing 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 difficulties, Silbert has also accomplished some impressive 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.