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Everything you need to know about Barry Silbert

by Alan Daniel

Those who keep up with cryptocurrency news might know who Barry Silbert is, his name is usually tied to one investment or other. Let’s learn a bit more about Barry Silbert and his involvement in finance and the cryptocurrency industry.

Barry Silbert Early Life

Silbert was raised in Gaithersburg, Md., and had an inclination for trading from his early childhood. At thirteen years old he was obtaining and flipping baseball cards as quickly as he could. He learned early on in life that some items are commodities and possess monetary value simply due to demand. When he received his bar mitzvah money he didn’t spend it on consumer staples, he invested it in the Nasdaq, the S&P, and other stock markets.

Choosing a different path from his peers, as a young high schooler, Silbert started to work in an entry-level position in a brokerage firm near his home. This early drive to be a part of the finance sector helped him to advance quickly.

Older employees in the firm from portfolio managers to traders pointed him in the direction of the General Securities Representative Exam, this early foray into the sector would allow Silbert to take on the role of a stockbroker. He took heed to their advice and passed the test in high school.

Barry Silbert and Finance
Barry Silbert went to Emory University Goizueta Business School and graduated in 1988. Silbert went to one of the financial capitals’ of the world, New York, to begin his career. He started his career as an analyst with Houlihan Lokey Howard and Zukin, niche investment institution.

In this role, Silbert was able to gain exposure to several divisions such as financial restructuring and more. He was able to step into the field of restructuring right as the tech boom was about to wind down.

While the dot com boom was winding down, Silbert’s role was ramping up. Many different tech companies faced a couple of options, close down or restructure. Houlihan Lokey and Silbert were present to help with the restructuring process. Silbert was able to move up from an analyst into the role of associate and had the opportunity to conduct deep work in significant bankruptcy cases.

After a few years of restructuring Silbert sought for something more, something different.

Barry Silbert and Restricted Stock Partners
Silbert started his own firm, he called it Restricted Stock Partners. Restricted Stock Partners was a simple operation that dealt in more complex matters. The vision was to provide investors with fairly illiquid or low volume assets to move these assets. These assets included public restricted stocks. He made a few pitches to investors in his circle and was able to start the firm with a total of $400,000.

The firm would progress over time and would go digital, Silbert would add more investors from firms such as FirstMark Capital, who would invest large sums in the firm, the firm would later be called Second Market.

Turning Illiquid to Liquid
Second Market would add more assets that were illiquid, these assets ranged from MBS products to CDO’s. The exchange was tapping into trillion dollar markets, matching buyers and sellers together and capturing value.
Business continued to boom as the financial crisis continued with more assets having less liquid marketplaces. As a firm that hosted illiquid assets, the firm had access to stocks such as Facebook where early employees would offload a portion of their shares for cash. This opened up another market, the market for buying and selling early stage private company stock. As such, Second Market grew and raised more funding from more investors.
The company wouldn’t always be swimming in dough. The financial crisis was resolved, more liquidity came back into the markets and SecondMarket experienced a decrease in interest. Silbert had to keep the business running while looking for more opportunities. This search is where he’d meet one new intriguing and charming up and comer, bitcoin.

Silbert Gravitates Toward Bitcoin
Silbert heard about bitcoin and started to collect these new assets in 2012. He started investing slowly at first and then started plunging money into bitcoin as the price was rising. The value for bitcoin was that it could be comparable to gold and become a form of payment.
In 2013, Silbert would take his firm in a different direction, he would want to open up a market for bitcoin and a bitcoin fund.

Silbert and DCG
In 2014, Digital Currency Group would start to come to life behind the scenes. DCG would oversee the launch of the BIT, the acquisition of soon to be subsidiary Genesis Trading. The firm would see the rise of bitcoin and find itself invested in a variety of startups that included the likes of Coinbase, BitPay, Ripple, Ethereum Classic, Ripio, and more. DCG will be an investment firm to watch.

Featured Image from Fortune

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