First Genesis, now Coindesk. Barry Silbert’s empire appears to be in trouble, as it is apparently considering selling part of its subsidiaries to address liquidity issues.
On January 18, 2023, Kevin Worth, CEO of CoinDesk, a cryptocurrency-focused news site subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, reported that the company hired investment bankers from Lazard LTD to help them explore options for a partial or complete sale of the company.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Worth talked about how potential investors were interested in owning the digital media outlet:
“Over the last few months, we have received numerous inbound indications of interest in CoinDesk,”
However, until now, everything was kept private —if there has been any intention to sell the company.
DCG’s Liquidity Issues
According to its own site, Coindesk receives over 5 million visitors per month (Similarweb reports over 10 million visitors), organizes the “Consensus” summit —one of the biggest crypto events in the United States— and has expanded to different products, including a newsletter and a YouTube Channel.
Seems successful, but the reasons behind its parent company’s liquidity issues don’t come from a poorly performing media site but instead are attributed mainly to the FTX contagion and a fight with the Winklevoss twins, founders of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange after DCG-owned crypto lender Genesis halted withdrawals, messing with Gemini’s “Earn” program.
The Winklevii have publicly called for the resignation of DCG CEO Barry Silbert and accused the company of not responding to their attempts to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. In addition, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently sued both DCG and Genesis for allegedly selling unregistered securities.
As CryptoPotato recently reported, Genesis may be preparing to file for bankruptcy this week after failing to raise cash, as the crypto fund was left with a financial gap of more than $175 million in the wake of FTX’s collapse, which prevented it from resuming customer withdrawals.
What Should Be Expected
The potential sale of CoinDesk or Genesis, along with other important DCG-owned crypto businesses such as Foundry, Grayscale Investments, and Luno, might help solve part —or all— of DCG’s financial issues but could have a significant impact on the cryptocurrency market.
In a worst-case scenario, DCG may even consider selling part of its cryptocurrency holdings to stay afloat. However, it is worth noting that Grayscale Investments alone holds a large amount of Bitcoin, with 631,460 BTC ($13 billion) in its possession. This suggests that its financial troubles may not be as dire as they seem and that the company may have a buffer to fall back on.
Regardless, the news of DCG’s liquidity issues and potential sale of subsidiaries has raised concerns in the cryptocurrency community and highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the industry.