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The 2015 Fintech Finance 35: Barry Silbert, Digital Currency Group

No. 13

Barry Silbert
Chief Executive Officer
Digital Currency Group

When it comes to investing, Barry Silbert has always been a little ahead of his time. The Gaithersburg, Maryland, native began buying and selling stocks at age 13 with his bar mitzvah money and four years later passed his Series 7 exam to become the then-youngest U.S. licensed stockbroker. After graduating from Emory University in 1998 with a bachelor’s in business administration, Silbert went to work for investment bank Houlihan Lokey in New York, focusing on restructuring. He left in 2004 “to scratch an entrepreneurial itch” and founded SecondMarket, a platform to trade shares in privately held companies and funds, now owned by Nasdaq. Silbert launched into angel investing in 2010 and a year later began reading about the history of money and Bitcoin. “It took me about six months of being a skeptic before I came to the conclusion that Bitcoin had the potential to change the world,” says Silbert, 39, who invested about $200,000 in the digital currency in 2012, when the price was below $10. As the price rose tenfold (it has since settled around $300), he used some of his gains to make angel investments in Bitcoin companies. “Being one of the few guys out there making investments in this space, I got to see most of the companies that got formed in 2012 and 2013, and put together a portfolio of really, really great companies,” he says. Today those investments related to Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain ledger are housed within Digital Currency Group, a New York–based C corporation Silbert set up last year with funding from Bain Capital Ventures and RRE Ventures. (Bain’s Matthew Harris, No. 3, and RRE’s James Robinson IV, No. 1, sit on DCG’s investment committee.) DCG’s 56 investments are in 17 countries and include Abra, Align Commerce Corp., Ascribe, BitPesa, Chain, Coinbase and Ripple. “I am absolutely convinced that the time has come for a digital currency whose money supply is not controlled by a government,” Silbert explains. “I think what people are missing is the role that a digital currency could play in the world today as a complement, or even a replacement, to something like gold.”

The 2015 Fintech Finance 35

1. James Robinson III
& James Robinson IV
RRE Ventures
2. Jane Gladstone
Evercore Partners
3. Matthew Harris
Bain Capital Ventures
4. Steven McLaughlin
Financial Technology Partners
5. Jonathan Korngold
General Atlantic
6. Richard Garman &
Brad Bernstein
FTV Capital
7. Amy Nauiokas & Sean Park
Anthemis Group
8. Thomas Jessop
Goldman Sachs Group
9. Meyer (Micky) Malka
Ribbit Capital
10. Hans Morris
Nyca Partners
11. Maria Gotsch
Partnership Fund for New York City
12. Marc Andreessen
Andreessen Horowitz
13. Barry Silbert
Digital Currency Group
14. Jay Reinemann
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
15. Mariano Belinky
Santander InnoVentures
16. François Robinet
AXA Strategic Ventures
17. Vanessa Colella
Citi Ventures
18. Alan Freudenstein & Gregory Grimaldi
Credit Suisse
19. Justin Brownhill & Neil DeSena
SenaHill Partners
20. Rodger Voorhies
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
21. Michael Schlein
Accion International
22. Kenneth Marlin
Marlin & Associates
23. Rumi Morales
CME Ventures
24. Mark Beeston
Illuminate Financial Management
25. Vladislav Solodkiy
26. Fabian Vandenreydt
Innotribe SWIFT
27. Derek White
28. Alex Batlin
29. Jeffrey Greenberg
& Vincenzo
La Ruffa
Aquiline Capital Partners
30. P. Howard Edelstein
REDI Holdings
31. Nektarios Liolios
Startupbootcamp FinTech
32. Roy Bahat
Bloomberg Beta
33. Andrew McCormack
Valar Ventures
34. Lawrence Wintermeyer
Innovate Finance
35. Janos Barberis
FinTech Hong Kong

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