Keys to USD 10bn in Bitcoin Locked Underground on Five Continents

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When you amass a fortune in digital currency, you still have to keep it somewhere. Imagine becoming a Bitcoin billionaire – how would you guard your hoard? In your old apartment? Or in vaults behind guards, reinforced concrete and blast doors?

Source: iStock/Dzurag

Xapo, a startup founded by Argentine entrepreneur Wences Casares, has built a network of underground vaults on five continents, including one in a decommissioned Swiss military bunker.

Xapo’s global bitcoin storage network


Two Xapo clients say his startup is the home to approximately USD 10 billion in Bitcoin, according to Bloomberg. The company, of course, does not store Bitcoin itself, but rather the private keys of their clients.

Inside the Xapo Swiss vault

The cache would amount to around 7% of the global Bitcoin supply, which places the startup above 98% of the US banks by deposit amount. The company has vaults on five continents and guarding it is not an easy desk job where you can watch movies when nothing is happening: Xapo’s head of security, Carlos Rienzi, said for Quartz last year that the situation is: “under attack 24/7. This is not a race. It is a chess game. You have to think about the opponent’s next movement. You can never relax.”

CoinShares, a crypto investment company, for example, has more than USD 500 million at Xapo, and their CEO Ryan Radloff says, “You couldn’t pay me to keep it with a bank.”

As the level of security for smaller-scale wallets, both software and hardware, rises, hackers find themselves unable to apply their usual methods of stealing funds, so they have to resort to more traditional ways: the number of crypto robberies at gunpoint is increasing.