It is no secret that Bitcoin and its ilk have become more popular among the rich and wealthy following the explosive increase in price experienced during 2017. However, although the currency is a virtual one, many investors are making sure to safeguard their cryptocurrency assets in an old-fashioned way. The startup Xapo is operating actual underground bunkers in order to protect cryptographic keys and hardware wallets for investors.
Xapo is headed by an Argentinian entrepreneur by the name of Wences Casares, and Casares has set his sights on trying to win over the hearts, minds, and cryptocurrency wallets of Silicon Valley’s cryptocurrency millionaires. Xapo has an extensive array of facilities spread across five different continents and is specializing in underground vaults. This may sound serious all on its own, but one of Xapo’s installations is literally ”military grade”, as Xapo has taken over a decommissioned Swiss military bunker, buried deep within the Swiss mountains.
Xapo has, from time to time, allowed journalists into their top-secret facilities, although it is unknown exactly how large a cryptocurrency hoard Xapo is protecting. However, two clients of Xapo said that the operations supposedly safeguards around $10 billion of Bitcoin – a staggering amount no matter the circumstances. If this is, in fact, accurate, which a source close to Xapo has confirmed that it is, it would mean that Xapo guards a hoard that equals around 7% of the worldwide supply of Bitcoin. To put this into perspective, it would mean that Xapo is handling a larger amount of money than a staggering 98% of US banks are.
The vaults that are operated by Xapo function as huge underground hardware wallets. The bunkers hold computer servers that have been completely disconnected from the Internet, meaning that they are immune to any online hacking or scamming. Moreover, Xapo’s facilities only ever store the cryptographic keys used to assert ownership over Bitcoins.
Casares is also sometimes jokingly referred to as ”Patient Zero” for his contribution to the cryptocurrency craze sweeping Silicon Valley. Moreover, the approximately $10 billion worth of cryptocurrency being stored by his startup should speak volumes as to the respect he wields in the cryptocurrency community. At a time when hackers have managed to trick even cryptocurrency holders who use cold-storage solutions, using a professional solution such as Xapo can understandably hold a certain allure.
Nonetheless, despite its impressive installations and vaults, Xapo also needs to stay ahead of the hackers in order to guarantee the security of the coins. Carlos Rienzi, the head of security at Xapo, has previously likened cryptocurrency security to a game of chess, rather than a race – as cryptocurrency holders can potentially be subject to attack ”24/7”. It, therefore, seems that even Silicon Valley millionaires, supposedly at the forefront of technology, are now burying their treasure underground.
Image Source: “Flickr”
Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.