Silvergate Capital (NYSE: SI) has announced that it will begin closing operations and liquidate Silvergate Bank, one of the two main crypto banking giants. The company suspended its payments platform known as the Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN), which was considered to be one of its core offerings. All deposits will be fully reimbursed as per the liquidation plan unveiled Wednesday afternoon. However, it’s still uncertain how Silvergate, a bank-friendly to cryptocurrency, plans to settle its enterprise claims. This proclamation arrives a week after Silvergate stated they would delay their 2022 10-K filing while they looked into their business’ “viability.” The company divulged that the postponed 10-K submission was in part due to an upcoming regulatory check, involving a probe the Department of Justice is presently conducting.
Silvergate Bank, a Federal Reserve member, had revolutionized the financial infrastructure and services for the digital asset industry. Its pioneering real-time payments system, the Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN), allows cryptocurrency exchanges, institutions, and customers to easily exchange traditional fiat currencies, such as the US dollar and Euro. The SEN was initially developed to make it simpler for cryptocurrency companies to provide their customers with dollar-pegged stablecoins. As the prices of Bitcoin and other tokens skyrocketed, Silvergate moved swiftly and experienced tremendous growth in crypto deposits. Moreover, they established the “Silvergate Exchange Network” (SEN) to facilitate transactions between its customers in traditional currency.
The bank’s importance to the cryptocurrency industry lies in its ability to provide a bridge between traditional banking and the emerging world of digital assets. By offering a secure and reliable platform for exchanging fiat currencies and stablecoins, Silvergate had become a key player in the crypto ecosystem. Its real-time payments system has enabled faster and more efficient transactions, making it easier for businesses and individuals to participate in the digital asset market.
Silvergate Bank had previously been in the news in recent months due to its ties with FTX. As of September 30th, 2022, Silvergate reported that FTX made up less than 10% of its total digital asset customers’ deposits, and the bank had no outstanding loans or investments with FTX. However, both FTX and Alameda had active deposit accounts at Silvergate.
In terms of major investors in Silvergate, Vanguard is listed as the largest institutional investor in Silvergate, with 2.99 million shares or 9.47% of the company, as of January 2023. State Street (NYSE: STT) and BlackRock (NYSE: BLK) make up the second and third largest institutional investors of Silvergate, with 9.32% and 6.67% ownership respectively. Silvergate’s stock has tumbled over 71% this year, to a current price of $4.91, marking a stark fall from grace for the once great crypto-friendly bank.
The news of Silvergate Bank winding down operations and liquidating is a major loss to the cryptocurrency industry. The bank provided a secure and reliable platform for exchanging fiat currencies and stablecoins, making it easier for businesses and individuals to participate in the digital asset market. While its future remains uncertain, its closure serves as a reminder of the regulatory scrutiny that crypto companies face. As the crypto ecosystem continues to evolve, it’s important to stay informed about the latest developments and ensure that businesses are compliant with regulatory standards. However, the company becomes yet another domino to fall as a result of the FTX debacle, which is continuing to create ripple effects throughout the industry.