ConstitutionDAO Villain Ken Griffin Wants to Get Into Crypto Now

Ken Griffin, who beat out ConstitutionDAO on a bid for the U.S. Constitution, is now interested in crypto markets.
GameStop and ConstitutionDAO Villain Ken Griffin Is Getting Into Crypto
Michael Kovac / Contributor

Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin—who once dismissed crypto as a "jihadist call that we don't believe in the dollar”—has had a change of heart and is now seemingly ready to enter the industry. 

“I still have my skepticism, but there are hundreds and millions of people in this world today who disagree with that. To the extent that we’re trying to help institutions and investors solve their portfolio allocation problems, we have to give serious consideration to being a market maker in crypto,” Griffin said in an interview with Bloomberg Wealth. “It’s fair to assume that over the months to come, you will see us engage in making markets in cryptocurrencies.”


At its core, a market maker is a large firm that buys and sells shares from investors as they trade. They're wholesalers who help provide liquidity to markets and make sure trading can go smoothly. In January, market-maker Citadel Securities—not to be confused with its sister $43 billion hedge fund Citadel—raised $1.15 billion after selling a stake to venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and crypto investment firm Paradigm. The deal was the company’s first outside investment and valued Citadel Securities at $22 billion.

Griffin's apparent plans to move into the cryptocurrency space are surprising given his history. Griffin gained infamy for his role in beating a bid by ConstitutionDAO to purchase a copy of the U.S. Constitution and sparking a crisis of sorts as the DAO was thrown into chaos. It tried (and failed) to refund members, internal plans were constantly in flux, and eventually the Discord-based group was shut down. Still, that hasn’t stopped Griffin from thinking about additional ways he can insert himself to the resilient crypto bubble and make some money.

Both of the companies founded by Ken Griffin have also sat at the center of widespread theories  about trading app Robinhood’s decision to halt Gamestop trading during the retail trader frenzy last January. Most of the theories, which accuse Citadel of putting pressure on Robinhood, rest on two things: Robinhood received over 35 percent of its revenue in 2020 ($39 million) from Citadel Securities, which pays the app for a feed of user trades before execution; Citadel also helped bailout GameStop short seller Melvin Capital to the tune of $2.8 billion. 

Citadel, Citadel Securities, and Robinhood have all denied any collusion occurred, but the theory makes the rounds every few months and persists despite the lack of any concrete evidence.

On the question of crypto, however, Griffin has made his position quite clear: If there’s money to be made (and for now, there are trillions of dollars floating around in that space) then he’s there.

“Crypto has been one of the great stories in finance over the course of the last 15 years. And I’ll be clear, I’ve been in the naysayer camp over that period of time,” Griffin told Bloomberg. “But the crypto market today has a market capitalization of about $2 trillion in round numbers, which tells you that I haven’t been right on this call.”