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Over the centuries, governments, banks, and individuals have prioritized the need for secure safes of valuable items. Whether digital assets, precious gems, or sensitive documents, the safest vaults in the world exist to protect from bad actors.
From high-tech security systems to some of the most impenetrable structures ever built. These vaults leverage innovative security setups and aggressive architecture to provide the ultimate protection.
It goes without saying that for those seeking the utmost protection, steel fence and concrete entrapment is the way to go.
Let’s face it; nothing quite beats knowing that your valuables are safe and secure no matter what happens.
This article will examine some of the world’s most well-known secure vaults. From the legendary Fort Knox to the immutable Bank of Spain and the Bahnhof vault. We’ll also explore other individual-centric innovative asset protection methods, ranging from gold coins and bars to virtual assets.
5 safest vaults worldwide list
Before jumping in, here is a list of the world’s safest vaults.
|Vault||Location||Notable Security Measures||Unique Features|
|New York Federal Reserve Vault||New York, NY, USA||Motion detectors, cameras, lasers, 90-ton nuclear blast-resistant steel cylinder, 140-ton concrete & steel frame||Largest gold repository in the world|
|Bank of Spain Vault||Madrid, Spain||Biometric tech (facial, fingerprint, iris recognition), reinforced walls, extensive CCTV coverage, secure communications system||The oldest central bank in the world|
|United States Bullion Depository||Fort Knox, KY, USA||Barbed wire, guard towers, armed guards, motion detectors, biometric scanners, surveillance cameras, reinforced walls||Houses important historical documents|
|Svalbard Seed Bank||Spitsbergen Island, Norway||Steel door, reinforced concrete walls, automated mechanism for temperature control||Global backup of crop diversity|
|Bahnhof Data Center||Stockholm, Sweden||Retrofitted Cold War bunker, redundant power systems, biometric scanners, surveillance cameras||Secure data storage|
1. New York Federal Reserve Vault
Located at 33 Liberty Street, New York, the New York Federal Reserve Vault is considered the most secure bank vault in Manhattan’s heart.
It is one of the largest gold repositories in the world, with approximately 25% of the world’s gold reserves. The Bank of England and the United States equate to hundreds of billions of dollars in US cash and other assets. No wonder the Bank of England is safe.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the world’s largest collection and the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks, owns and operates the gold vault. The 25-foot-thick steel box sits atop Manhattan Island’s bedrock. You read that correctly — the secure gold vault is 80 feet below street level and 50 feet below sea level.
A single elevator is the only way in or out of the entire vault. The vault’s steel walls are encircled by a network of motion detectors, cameras, and lasers monitoring the area 24/7. The front vault door also features multiple sensors and alarms that activate upon detecting unauthorized entry attempts.
You aren’t ready for what’s next if you think that’s overkill. Remember that single way into the vault — the elevator? Well, it is protected from nuclear blasts by a 90-ton steel cylinder.
The 140-ton concrete and steel frame houses three steel doors, and the 9-foot bar produces an airtight and watertight enclosure. Four steel rods and time locks go into action when the door is closed, making it virtually impossible to unlock the secure vault until the following business day.
In addition to sophisticated locks and security systems, the vault has several safety protocols. For instance, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s staff continuously monitors the vault. All employees must undergo background checks and security training before accessing the secure vault.
2. The Vault of the Bank of Spain
The Bank of Spain is the oldest central bank in the world, founded in 1782 and located in Madrid, Spain. The institution has been responsible for safeguarding Spaniards’ financial assets and managing the country’s monetary policy for centuries.
Over the years, The Bank of Spain has implemented several security tactics and evolved them to ensure its assets’ safety. It has also been used for money heist movies.
In today’s super technology and global digitization, these measures include advanced biometric technologies such as facial, fingerprint, and iris recognition, physical security such as reinforced walls, multiple layers of locking mechanisms, and extensive CCTV coverage.
The Bank also maintains a secure communications system, which monitors the security of its vaults. In addition to the physical and technological measures, the Bank has several strict protocols and procedures to ensure its assets’ safety. These include requiring visitors to present a valid identification document, such as a passport or ID card, and allowing access only to authorized personnel.
The Spanish government asserts that it has never been looted, strengthening its case for being the world’s most secure federal reserve bank vault. By combining physical, technological, and procedural security, the Bank of Spain has been able and will continue to secure the country’s reserves and Spaniards’ assets from potential threats.
3. The United States Bullion Depository – Fort Knox
Fort Knox, also known as the United States Bullion Depository, is famous for being the prior walled guardian of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It also houses some of the United States’ most important historical documents, including the Magna Carta.
Surrounded by approximately 30,000 acres of land, there is no sneaking into the building. An army regiment of tens of thousands patrols the fort, with the defense system incorporating the latest security technology from top to bottom.
Fort Knox Security is world-class. The facility is heavily guarded, and access is restricted to authorized personnel only. Barbed wire, guard towers, and armed guards surround the site. Several additional security layers are inside the facility, including motion detectors, biometric scanners, and surveillance cameras.
Moreover, four-foot-thick, four-ton granite walls have been reinforced with steel. You would need to pass through several locked doors to get to the 22-ton vault door, the biggest and last one you would encounter.
The exact security components of the renowned Fort Knox remain a mystery; nobody knows the precise details. However, we know the most secure vault in history has never been robbed. In fact, since 1935—nearly a century ago—no one has even attempted to break into the US Bullion Depository, a testament to the titan’s valiance as the ultimate guardian.
4. Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure seed storage facility located in a remote area of Spitsbergen Island in Norway, 620 miles from the North Pole.
In the case of a natural or machine-made calamity, the vault will serve as a global backup of crop diversity by holding various crop seeds worldwide. Simply put, the Svalbard seed bank was designed to survive Armageddon. That is why it is considered the most secure building in one of the most secure locations.
A steel door and reinforced concrete walls guard the vault’s entrance, almost 320 feet (100 meters) below the island’s surface. Thanks to its depth, it can withstand a full nuclear blast, holocaust, and powerful earthquakes.
It also sits 430 feet above sea level, safe from any possible sea-level rise. The three seed vaults lay behind four heavy steel doors. To prevent seed spoilage, the vault is built with multiple fail-safes. An automated mechanism automatically shuts the largest vault door if the interior temperature rises above a certain level.
The vault’s storage experienced a leak in 2017. A structural leak physically flooded the passageway leading to the vault. Abnormally heavy rainfall and warm weather caused this security breach.
The tunnel was waterproofed with a government investment of roughly $4.7 million. The Norwegian government has pledged an extra $6.3 million for renovations to combat the domino effect climate change will trigger, making it the most secure vault in the world for non-monetary purposes.
5. Bahnhof in Stockholm
Bahnhof, the ultimate virtual asset guardian, is several feet deep inside the White Mountains of Stockholm.
Yeah, that’s right, the vault in question is not responsible for safeguarding physical valuables. Instead, think Wikileaks. Its genuine whistleblower, Wikileaks, with a penchant for publishing sensitive/classified information, is one of many patrons of the Bahnhof facility.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, the Bahnhof vault is home to a secure data center and is responsible for providing physical security and protection from natural disasters. That is why it is in the most secure facilities.
The vault itself is a retrofitted Cold War bunker. Bahnhof, a Swedish internet service provider, moved in 2010 and has since restructured the facility with security and privacy as priorities.
The center features redundant power systems and numerous layers of physical security, including biometric scanners and surveillance cameras. The facility also has its backup generator and water supply, ensuring the servers can continue operating even during a power outage or other emergency.
Extreme measures safeguard the data stored beneath White Mountain, and Sweden’s strict free speech and data protection regulations also protect it.
Undoubtedly, Bahnhof Pinone White Mountains in Stockholm is one of the most secure in the entire world for digital valuables. Its location in a nuclear bunker and its advanced security infrastructure provide a comprehensive high level of protection for the stored data.
Other top-tier, most secure bank vaults include Cleveland’s Federal Reserve Bank Gold Vault, the gold bullion, the England Gold Vault, and the Granite Mountain Records Vault.
The Most Common Features of a Secure Vault
Before discussing the top vaults for safeguarding valuables, let’s look at some features that facilitate security in these safekeeping entrapments.
The most common features of a secure physical vault include the following:
- Robust Construction: Construct a secure physical vault using strong, heavy materials to resist physical attacks.
- Security Locking System: Equip a secure physical vault with a high-security locking system, such as combination locks, biometric locks, or other advanced locking mechanisms.
- Motion and Heat Sensors: Install motion and heat sensors in a secure physical vault to detect unauthorized access attempts.
- Surveillance Cameras: Place surveillance cameras around the vault’s perimeter and interior to monitor activity.
- Access Control: Strictly control and monitor access to a secure physical vault, allowing only authorized personnel to enter.
- Fire Protection: Install fire protection systems in a physical vault to prevent damage in case of a fire.
What About Vaults for Virtual Assets?
Suppose you have gold bars or state secrets to hide; the Seed Bank in the depths of the North Pole or the most inaccessible site in the world, Fort Knox, are both ideal choices.
However, even money has evolved and adapted to feature virtual relevance in today’s dynamic, technologically advanced world.
Nine times out of ten, people are concerned about the safety of their digital assets, with gold taking the backseat. If one fails to adequately preserve their virtual assets, losing one’s hard-earned money may be the slightest concern. Reputation and damaging corporate secrets of private companies can also be lost.
We have created an extensive list of the best hardware wallets to optimize safeguarding your virtual assets.
To better understand hardware wallets, read our Ledger Nano S Plus reviews to learn more about the leading one.
Ledger Nano S Plus is a fortress-like protection for your digital wealth, sporting an affordable price point. This crypto wallet supports many cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks, making them easily managed via the reputable Ledger Live app. Despite its significant advantages, some users have noted the lack of storage capacity.
Support for up to 5,500 cryptocurrencies.
Private keys are always offline.
Integration with other hot wallets.
Support for staking.
High fees for Ledger Live crypto purchases.
Limited app space.
Facilities like Bahnhof that can safeguard your virtual assets are one solution. Nevertheless, it is essential to have comprehensive knowledge of cybersecurity. We’ll start with what constitutes virtual assets and go from there.
What Constitutes a Virtual Asset?
Virtual assets embody digital value, enabling exchange or usage for specific purposes like virtual currencies, digital collectibles, or in-game items.
Now that we’ve learned what a virtual asset is, let’s examine what constitutes a virtual asset.
Indeed, both your private data and mine are valuable virtual assets because of their potential monetary worth. For instance, businesses can gather and sell personal details such as email addresses and browsing histories for targeted advertising.
A blockchain is a digital ledger shared among a network of computers. Every transaction is recorded and can’t be altered. In other words, it is a way to securely and transparently track digital assets.
This makes it a valuable tool for managing virtual assets like digital currencies and collectibles. In a sense, a blockchain serves as an information asset and a tool to safeguard that information.
Cryptocurrencies are digital or virtual currencies that use cryptography for security. They are decentralized, meaning any government or financial institution does not control them. Instead, transactions are recorded on a blockchain, a decentralized digital ledger.
Including Bitcoin – the very first cryptocurrency, there are currently over 60,000 cryptocurrencies on the crypto market that can be traded on the blockchain.
How to Keep Your Virtual Assets Safe
Virtual assets demand more inventive solutions compared to traditional physical assets and valuables.
Here are several ways to keep your virtual assets safe:
- Secure Your Private Keys: Private keys are the codes that allow you to access and manage your virtual assets. It is important to keep them safe and avoid sharing them with anyone. A good way to do this is by using a hardware wallet, a physical device specifically designed to store and manage private keys.
- Use A Strong Password: Your virtual assets are only as secure as the password protecting them. Use a strong, unique password and avoid using easily guessable information such as your name or birthdate.
- Keep Your Software and Devices Updated: Regularly update your software, including your operating system and any wallet or exchange apps you use to manage your virtual assets. This will ensure that you have the latest security updates and fixes.
- Be Aware of Phishing Scams: Actively guard your private keys and sensitive information against scammers who might try to con you. Stay wary of unexpected emails or messages that ask for such details. Always remember your security is crucial.
- Diversify Your Assets: Diversifying your assets means spreading them across different types of investments, platforms, and wallets. You will still have your assets in other places if one gets hacked or compromised.
It’s important to remember that no system is completely foolproof, and there is always a risk that your virtual assets may be lost or stolen. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect your assets as much as possible.
The most secure vaults in the world are incredibly secure facilities and impressive feats of engineering designed to protect their contents from the elements and any potential theft attempts. With their state-of-the-art security, these vaults are a great way to protect your physical valuables and assets. To protect your virtual assets, on the other hand — barring the most secure vault facilities solutions like Bahnhof — your diligence is the key.
Among the world's most secure building is the U.S. Bullion Depository, Fort Knox. Managed by the United States Department of the Treasury, this highly secure vault is located adjacent to the U.S. Army post in Kentucky
Here is a list of some of the world's most challenging and secure locations to breach, even in your wildest dreams:
1. Fort Knox – Kentucky, USA
2. Svalbard Global Seed Vault – Spitsbergen, Norway
3. Cheyenne Mountain – Colorado, USA
4. Federal Reserve Bank of New York – USA
Although it may seem like an unrealistic TV storyline, the security at Spain's central bank are actually based on real-life defenses. The Bank of Spain, located in Madrid, has a gold vault chamber that floods with water if intruders attempt to break in.