The Fintech Finance 40: Barry Silbert
Chief Executive Officer, Digital Currency Group
Currently ranked: 16
Previously ranked: 13
If you’re trying to keep track of the fast-moving and often confusing phenomena of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group has them pretty well mapped out. Built out methodically since 2014, when Silbert sold his previous start-up — private share-trading platform Second Market — to Nasdaq, DCG was structured as “a company, not a fund,” says Silbert. That gives him flexibility to enter new business lines under the corporate umbrella while remaining active in Bitcoin trading, in which he started dabbling in 2012, and managing more than 100 portfolio investments.
Silbert formed Genesis Global Trading as DCG’s institutional trading unit. The remaining subsidiaries are Grayscale Investments, which manages the Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) that trades over-the-counter on an OTC Markets Group platform; CoinDesk, an online-news and events business that Silbert acquired in January 2016; and, as of May 2017, DCG Connect, a membership-based advisory organization.
The power of Bitcoin, Silbert says, lies in its ability to be a currency-like store of value and a payment rail for moving money around the word, operating on a ledger system without intermediaries and the friction they introduce into transactions. He has called Bitcoin world-changing, with “the potential to change the way people think about money, send money, and spend money,” he says.