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.
DCG’s biggest revenue generator is Grayscale Investments, a digital asset manager that offers trusts and funds for investors who want exposure to Bitcoin, Ether, and other cryptocurrencies. Grayscale oversees $28 billion worth of digital assets and is the largest institutional holder of Bitcoin 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.
DCG’s other subsidiaries 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 founded DCG in 2015 after he sold his previous company, SecondMarket, to Nasdaq for an undisclosed amount. SecondMarket was a stock trading platform that let investors acquire 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 shared his views on crypto on social media and public events. He has conveyed his bullishness on Bitcoin and Ethereum, his doubt on Dogecoin and other meme coins, his disapproval on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and stablecoins, and his enthusiasm 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 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 advocate 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.