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Xapo, a startup just 4 years old, has 10 billion dollars in bitcoin on behalf of third parties, a figure that is equivalent to 7% of global supply.
To access the bunker where the funds are deposited, the so-called “Patient Zero” must use fingerprint scanners, which are also equipped with a pulse reader, to prevent the use of amputated hands in case someone would like to access without authorization.
It sounds like a film scene, but in the cryptocurrency world, nothing is impossible.
Moreover, the story of bitcoin itself is shrouded in mystery because of the disappearance of its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Security is assured
Xapo maintains bitcoins on encrypted servers on computers that are not connected to the network or even to the power supply.
The bunkers are located on all five continents and maximum safety measures are applied.
The Swiss bunker is controlled by the Financial Services Standards Association, which monitors members to ensure they comply with AML rules, while US customers are insured by a Delaware company registered with the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Network and licensed in several states.
The startup was created by an Argentine entrepreneur Wences Casares known as “Patient Zero” and his clients include major bitcoin hodlers such as CoinShares’ Ryan Radloff with $500 million in bitcoin, Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, and Mike Novogratz, an EOS entrepreneur and investor.
While Xapo guarantees maximum security, picking up bitcoins from its bunkers is not an easy task.
At Xapo, the recovery of cryptocurrencies from storage takes approximately two days.
It starts with verifying a customer’s identity through FaceTime, and if that’s not enough, someone takes the trouble to fly to the customer to meet them in person.
Then the request is authenticated and the transactions are signed manually with private keys from three storage locations.
The approval of three separate deposits is required to authorize any transaction.
Luckily, the company has a trading desk to buy and sell bitcoins and also offers a bitcoin debit card to spend them.
But Xapo’s success comes not only from its unquestionable security but also from its advisors including former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, former CEO of Citigroup Inc John Reed and Visa International founder Dee Hock.
This circle of bitcoin evangelists is very active in the area of Silicon Valley and Wall Street, spreading the rumor about the benefits of its possession.
Cesares has made the acceptance of bitcoin his life’s purpose and, with the support of the world’s millionaires, has created a company that has more deposits than over 98% of the 5,670 banks in the United States.