Gemini Sues Digital Currency Group and Founder Barry Silbert Alleging 'Fraud'

The lawsuit is the latest escalation by Gemini, which is trying to recover funds for its Earn program held by DCG subsidiary Genesis.

AccessTimeIconJul 7, 2023 at 3:06 p.m. UTC
Updated Jul 10, 2023 at 3:43 p.m. UTC

Crypto trust firm Gemini sued Digital Currency Group on Friday, alleging the industry conglomerate and its founder Barry Silbert committed "fraud" through DCG subsidiary Genesis, which held funds for Gemini tied to the latter company's Earn program.

The lawsuit is intended to recover Gemini's funds from DCG, a filing made to the New York County Supreme Court said. Gemini entered into a partnership with Genesis which allowed its customers to earn up to 7.4% in annual percentage yield. Gemini sent its customers' funds to Genesis, which in turn loaned them out to companies like the now-defunct Three Arrows Capital. Like Genesis, CoinDesk is a subsidiary of DCG.

"From the beginning, Genesis – acting in concert with Defendants and with Defendants’ active support and encouragement – induced the Gemini Earn Lenders to lend by touting Genesis’s purportedly robust risk-management practices and a supposedly thorough vetting process of the counterparties to which it re-lent the assets," the filing said. "Those were lies."

The lawsuit alleges that Silbert asked Gemini to continue its Earn program even though he "was aware at the time that Genesis was massively insolvent," and took other steps to hide that Genesis had a billion-dollar hole on its balance sheet. Genesis filed for bankruptcy in January 2023.

The filing took aim at DCG's announcement that it had absorbed the Three Arrows Capital losses, saying this was "false."

The filing also said that Genesis had not honored redemption requests since mid-November.

In a tweet, Gemini co-founder Cameron Winklevoss, who previously invited Silbert to join him on a Twitter Space without lawyers, called Silbert "the architect and mastermind of the DCG and Genesis fraud against creditors."

The lawsuit, which alleges fraud and aiding and abetting fraud, is seeking damages, attorney's fees and "any other relief that is deemed just and proper."

In a tweet of its own, DCG said the allegations were "defamatory" and called the filing a "publicity stunt."

"Senior DCG leadership has been working around the clock over the course of multiple months in active negotiation with representatives of the Official Unsecured Creditors Committee and Ad Hoc Committee to reach a deal while Gemini's leadership was MIA [missing in action] or only issuing press statements," the tweet said.

Gemini and Genesis also both face a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit over the Gemini Earn product. The lawsuit, filed in January, alleged that Gemini Earn was an unregistered securities offering.

UPDATE (July 7, 2023, 15:45 UTC): Adds additional detail.

UPDATE (July 7, 16:05 UTC): Adds DCG response.

UPDATE (July 7, 16:25 UTC): Adds context of SEC lawsuit.


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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.