Originally from Kyiv, Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union), he moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1991. He received his bachelor's degree in computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997 and co-founded two companies that made Internet-tools, NetMeridian Software and SponsorNet New Media. In 1998, he founded Fieldlink with John Bernard Powers, David Sacks, and Peter Thiel, which was renamed Confinity. Confinity was later merged with another company, X.com, and combined entity was named PayPal.
There is a lot of controversy around the merger of X.com and Confinity. Many believe that it was not a good deal for PayPal, and that it was forced upon them by their venture capitalists (VCs). Eric Jackson, an early employee of PayPal, offers a detailed account of the merger in his book PayPal Wars.
X.com CEO Elon Musk published an online rebuttal of these rumours at valleywag.
PayPal went public in February 2002, and was subsequently acquired by eBay. Levchin's 2.3% stake in PayPal was worth approximately $34 million at the time of the acquisition. He is primarily known for his contributions to PayPal's anti-fraud efforts and is also the co-creator of the Gausebeck-Levchin test, one of the first commercial implementations of a CAPTCHA.
In 2004, Levchin founded Slide, a personal media-sharing service.
Levchin was an executive producer for the movie Thank You for Smoking. Levchin was also featured in Brilliant Issue of PortFolio Magazine by Condenast Publications