2018-05-09 — bloomberg.com
Argentine entrepreneur Wences Casares has spent the past several years persuading Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires that Bitcoin is the global currency of the future, that they need to buy some, and that he's the man to safeguard it. His startup, Xapo, has built a network of underground vaults on five continents, including one in a decommissioned Swiss military bunker.
Xapo's billionaire backers include LinkedIn Corp. co-founder Reid Hoffman and former Wall Street trader Mike Novogratz, who's in the process of setting up his own cryptocurrency merchant bank. Their bet is that Bitcoin is here to stay, and so is its biggest scourge, theft.
The first rule of owning Bitcoin is to securely keep your private key -- the code that lets you spend your coins. If thieves get it, they can loot your holdings in an instant, with no hope of recovery. Putting keys on a device connected to the Internet is both convenient and perilous: Hackers have proven adept at obtaining them from afar.
Xapo's solution is to bury a cold-storage device in a mountainside and layer on electronic safeguards.... At Xapo, retrieving Bitcoin from the vault takes about two days. The company verifies a client's identity and authenticates the request before manually signing the transactions with private keys from multiple vault locations. Approval from three separate vaults is required for any transactions to be authorized. The company also offers customers a trading desk to buy and sell Bitcoin and created the first Bitcoin debit card to spend it.
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