San Diego Business Journal

Silvergate Bank CEO Alan Lane took a gamble in 2014 when he decided to accept deposits from cryptocurrency exchanges. So far, that bet has paid off.

The La Jolla-based bank filed for an initial public offering on Nov. 16, with a $50 million price target. Silvergate applied to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock ticker “SI.”

In preparation for Silvergate’s big debut, Lane led the bank through several major growth milestones. In February, Silvergate raised $114 million by selling 9.5 million shares of its stock through a private placement. One of its investors included Digital Currency Group, a cryptocurrency venture capital group.

Silvergate was a small, community bank before its foray into cryptocurrency gave it national renown. Lane joined the bank in 2008, in the midst of the Great Recession, helping propel it to its current strategy.

While larger institutions have shied away from digital currencies, to protect their reputations, that’s left an opportunity for several smaller banks to snap up these customers. For Silvergate, the addition of fintech clients helped it grow to $1.9 billion in total assets.

According to its prospectus, Silvergate Bank currently has 483 digital currency customers. Some of its confirmed clients include major cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Kraken.

In particular, cryptocurrency companies have helped grow the bank’s deposits. Silvergate reported a total of $1.5 million in noninterest bearing deposits in 2017, a whopping 770 percent increase year-over-year. It also reported a record net income of $8.7 million and made $879.7 million in loans in 2017.