Barry Silbert quits as Grayscale chairman as Bitcoin ETF decision looms – Decrypt

Barry Silbert has resigned as chairman of Grayscale Investments, the company announced Tuesday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Silbert, the CEO of Grayscale’s parent company Digital Currency Group (DCG), had not publicly commented on his resignation at the time of writing. Another Grayscale board member, Mark Murphy, also resigned from the board along with Silbert. Both men’s resignations are set to take effect on January 1.

According to the company, Mark Shifke, DCG’s current CFO, will replace Silbert as Grayscale’s chairman. Matt Kummell, DCG’s vice president of operations, and Edward McGee, Grayscale’s CFO, also joined the board.

“In keeping with Grayscale’s commitment to responsible growth, we are pleased to welcome Mark Shifke, Matt Kummell and Edward McGee to Grayscale’s board,” a Grayscale spokesperson told Decrypt. “Grayscale and our investors will benefit from their respective experiences in the financial services and asset management industries as we prepare for Grayscale’s next chapter.”

The spokesman declined to comment further on the reasons for the leadership change, which comes at a crucial time for Grayscale.

Analysts expect the SEC in the next two weeks to approve the first-ever spot Bitcoin ETFs, financial products that would allow traditional financial institutions and investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without owning any cryptocurrency. Grayscale is among the few companies with Bitcoin ETF applications currently under federal review.

The approval of Grayscale’s Bitcoin ETF application would undoubtedly mark a turning point in the company’s history. Analysts estimate that the launch of Bitcoin ETFs could bring $1 trillion worth of institutional capital to crypto markets.

Such an event would also provide Grayscale with a chance for a fresh start after parent company DCG had a rocky 2023.

In July, New York-based crypto exchange Gemini sued DCG and Silbert over the chaotic fallout resulting from the bankruptcy of DCG-owned digital asset company Genesis earlier this year. Gemini co-founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss accused Silbert of lying to them about the security of Gemini client funds, some of which were managed by Genesis.

There has been some progress. In August, the companies said they had reached an “agreement in principle” to repay loans. At the time, the agreement was described as resolving outstanding issues and achieving fair compensation for creditors – between 70% and 90% in US dollar equivalent terms.

Then, in October, the New York Attorney General sued the entire group — DCG, Genesis, Gemini, Silbert, and former Genesis CEO Soichiro Moro — for allegedly defrauding over 200,000 customers of over $1 billion.

It is unclear whether Silbert’s departure is related to his exposure to DCG’s ongoing legal problems. Some analysts speculated that the move may have been instigated by the executive himself to clear the way for Grayscale’s Bitcoin ETF hopes.

Others wondered whether the development could indicate a sale by Grayscale next year.

Edited by Stacy Elliott.