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Leadership Reshuffle At Bitcoin Heavyweight Grayscale: Barry Silbert Steps Down As Chairman Of The Board

Grayscale Investments, the digital asset manager vying for United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval to convert the world’s largest bitcoin trust into an exchange-traded fund (ETF), has implemented significant changes to its Board of directors. Grayscale chairman Barry Silbert has resigned as chairman and will be succeeded by Mark Shifke.

Barry Silbert Resigns From Grayscale Board

Barry Silbert, the founder of crypto behemoth Digital Currency Group (DCG) — the parent company of Grayscale — has relinquished his role as chairman. Grayscale officially revealed the change in leadership on Dec. 26 in its 8-K filing with the SEC.

DCG president Mark Murphy has also stepped down from Grayscale’s board. Both resignations are effective from January 1, 2024. 64-year-old Mark Shikfe, DCG’s chief financial officer, will replace Silbert.

“Effective January 1, 2024, the board consists of Mr. Shifke, Mr. Kummell, Michael Sonnenshein, and Mr. McGee, who also retain the authority granted to them as officers under the limited liability company agreement of the sponsor,” the filing states.

Spot Bitcoin ETFs

This leadership restructuring comes as Grayscale attempts to secure approval to list a spot crypto ETF in the U.S. Grayscale is one of 14 firms, including BlackRock and Fidelity, that have filed paperwork with the SEC to launch a spot-based Bitcoin ETF and has been actively engaged in talks with the securities watchdog regarding converting its flagship GBTC Trust to an ETF as well as making necessary revisions to its documentation. 

For Grayscale, a spot bitcoin ETF is imminent after a judge decided in August that the SEC does need to accept the company’s application. If GBTC is converted to an ETF, the firm is looking to have the fund listed on the NYSE Arca exchange for everyday investors.

Turbulent Year For Silbert’s DCG

It’s pertinent to mention that Silbert’s Digital Currency Group is currently embroiled in multiple legal disputes in the wake of the 2022 crypto industry meltdown following the implosion of the Terra ecosystem and digital asset exchange megabrand FTX’s bankruptcy. 

The New York Attorney General’s office hit DCG with a lawsuit in October for allegedly defrauding cryptocurrency customers of $1.1 billion. The AG also accused the company of lying to investors and trying to conceal massive losses.

DCG’s other troubles include its crypto lender Genesis Global filing for bankruptcy protection in January and halting all crypto trading services in September.

The legal woes continued with the SEC’s lawsuit against Genesis and Gemini for breaking securities laws with the so-called Gemini Earn program.

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