Xapo is a Switzerland-based company that provides a bitcoin wallet combined with a cold storage vault and a bitcoin-based debit card.
Xapo CEO and entrepreneur Wences Casares became interested in bitcoins because of the frequent financial fluctuations in his native Argentina. He has said that his family’s finances were “devastated as the economy (in Argentina) rocketed from inflation to deflation to devaluation.” Casares believes that digital currencies such as bitcoin “could solve the disjointed nature of our world economy.”
In 2011, Casares bought his first bitcoins but couldn’t find a way to store them, so he built a ‘vault’ for his own use. Friends, and later financial institutions, soon asked Casares if they could store their bitcoins in his vault. This became the foundation for Xapo, which was founded in late 2013 by Casares and COO Federico Murrone. Xapo opened its products to the public in March 2014.
Casares said Xapo was founded with the aim of making the bitcoin currency more secure and accessible. The Xapo Wallet operates through a mobile app and online and includes the ability to transfer funds to and from the Xapo Vault. In April 2014, Xapo introduced a debit card that will link to the user’s Xapo Wallet and will function like a standard debit card, except that it is backed by bitcoins instead of traditional currency.
Prior to Xapo, Casares founded and later sold online brokerage firm Patagon to Banco Santander for $750 million. He also launched the first Internet provider in his home country of Argentina in 1994.
In May 2015 Xapo moved its headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Zurich in Switzerland