MasterCard Invests In Silbert’s Digital Currency Group

By
Justin OConnell @justinofconnell
October 28, 2015

MasterCard is backing Barry Silbert’s newest initiative, Digital Currency Group, his first since selling SecondMarket to Nasdaq last week. Many believe this marks a major development in the Bitcoin space as the digital currency flirts with the $300 level. 

Silbert has gained the support of big-time backers for the new conglomerate focused exclusively on Bitcoin and other block chain technologies.

The new company, Digital Currency Group (DCG), will include Silbert’s over-the-counter Bitcoin trading firm, Genesis Global Trading, as well as Grayscale Investments, a digital currency asset management firm.

Digital Currency Group will be home to 57 seed-stage investments already made by Silbert and his team, including Chain, Circle, Coinbase, Ripple and Xapo. Other companies backed by DCG includes Ascribe, and ShoCard.

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“What we’re building is the largest early-stage investment portfolio in the digital currency and blockchain ecosystem,” Silbert elucidated “We’re also going to start high-growth businesses of our own, and develop a global platform and network to support our companies.” Silbert structured DGC as a company in order to one day go public.

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Investors such as MasterCard join Bain Capital; Ventures, CIBC, CME Ventures, FirstMark Capital, New York Life, Novel TMT, Oak HC/FT, RRE Ventures, Solon Mack Capital and Transamerica Ventures.

“We’re still far away from bitcoin being a functional currency, and I don’t think we’ve gotten closer lately,” Silbert claims. “First it’s going to function as a speculative investment that will drive up the price and create a larger monetary base that will draw in Wall Street to trade it. Then more merchants will come on board. As it gets more liquid, as a [payment] rail it will become a real alternative to the existing money transfer systems in the world today. I really believe that’s what will happen, and I want DGC to be a big part of it.”

Silbert has been laying the groundwork for DCG for awhile. In March 2014, he tweeted: “Requests from 38 institutional investors representing +$250 billion to meet with me re bitcoin at Barclays Emerging Payments Forum tomorrow.” Silbert has been a part of the Bitcoin space for several years, even bidding on Silk Road funds sold by the US federal government. Silbert spoke today at Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas to explain the developments.

Image from Shutterstock.

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