On Wednesday (18 July 2018), Barry Silbert, the founder and CEO of incubator and venture capital firm Digital Currency Group (DCG), in an interview with CNBC’s “Fast Money”, implied that BlackRock’s CEO was wrong about lack of institutional interest in crypto; Silbert did so by saying by that 56% of the $250 million raised in the first half of 2018 by crypto-focused asset management firm Grayscale Investments (a subsidiary of DCG) had come from institutions.

Earlier in the day, speaking at the “Delivering Alpha 2018” conference in New York, Silbert had expressed his optimism about Bitcoin (BTC) as an investment:

“I think we’ve probably hit the bottom for the year. I actually put some money into bitcoin last week… As an asset class it is here to stay … I’m 100% confident a decentralized, non-fiat form of money is here to stay.”

The interview started with host Melissa Lee asking Silbert why he thought that Bitcom had bottomed. Silbert replied:

“I think a lot of people were looking for the bottom… A lot of institutional money… looking for an opportunity to get in… I think the bears just ran out of energy… ran out of bitcoin to sell… And I think from a technical perspective it's starting to look pretty good. And when the Chair of the Fed says negative things about Bitcoin, when Howard Marks [co-founder and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital management] says negative things about Bitcoin… and Bitcoin doesn't move, I think that's a really bullish sign.”

Melissa then asked Barry if, as a believer in cryptocurrencies, he didn’t feel that he was “swimming upstream” with the Federal Reserve and the SEC so outspoken against cryptocurrencies. Barry didn’t appear worried or angry:

“Yeah, and that's the best part! That's the best part… I mean, that's really when you make money—when you are swimming upstream. I started buying Bitcoin in 2012 when the price was $10. And I've gone through, now, two 80% corrections, and this was like a 65% correction… It's the same old criticisms, and a lot of it is… the uninformed… I think anybody who takes the time to look at what is this asset class, why is it important, why does it have such potential, they come out of it being a believer.”

Barry was then asked by one of the Fast Money traders if he was seeing any strong institutional interest other than from crypto-focused funds. He answered:

“So, the principals, the traders, they have been dabbling in crypto for years… The funds, themselves, they're starting to put some money to work. One of our companies is Grayscale Investments, which is the largest asset manager in this space. We announced today… we published our first half report… $250 million raised to date… across an array of funds… 56% came from institutions. A year ago, two years ago, it was almost nonexistent. So, we're starting to see that money come in, but we need custody solutions, and I think what you'll hear from a lot of them is 'We don't want to be first, we want to be second, fast second follower, we don't want to be last.”

On the same day, Silbert sent out the following tweet to make it clear how wrong he thought that BlackRock CEO, Larry Fink, was about lack of institutional interest in cryptocurrencies:


Featured Image Credit: Courtesy of Digital Currency Group