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Author Topic: Physical Bitcoin Check Generator  (Read 7305 times)
Anonymous
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February 27, 2011, 09:33:23 PM
 #1

Concept

Bitcoins, at the moment, are limited to technology-enabled transactions. A web-capable mobile device or desktop is required and the commodity has to be stored on volatile mediums including hard drives and third-party servers.

I wish to allow the average person to actually hold their Bitcoins in hand and give them 1) piece of mind and 2) the ability to trade Bitcoins on-the-spot. There is also the possibility of this being a medium to introduce less tech-savvy individuals to Bitcoin, although -- like a check -- a level of trust is required.

Figure 1:



http://i.imgur.com/9YF97.png

As detailed in the figure above, I wish to accomplish this through a web portal. The Bitcoins are sent to the service's server for future verification and then put into a physical and printable format. The actual BTC are stored physically onto a QR code through their private key. Once scanned, the Bitcoins can be retrieved digitally with other software.

Keep in mind, the note should then be destroyed after scanning to prevent theft/fraud and the confusion of having a note that may have no value. Again, it is essentially a bank check but with its actual value stored within.

The Note

I want the note to have quality artwork to allow for more trust so people can know it was generated from a reputable source. It should include the service's url, references to where more information about Bitcoin can be found and an icon of liberty, such as Julian Assange.

A field of signing should be on the front, allowing its creator to verify its validity. A visual handshake, if you will.

A reference serial or ID could also be included, allowing a merchant to verify the bill on the service's homepage -- checking to see the note's generation date, who generated it and if its content have been touched or not through verification of the block chain.



Execution

This project wishes to be conscious in helping the Bitcoin project while generating profit. Profit will be generated by ad revenue (Operation Fabulous) and the small fee (.005%-2%) that comes with generating notes. It may change as the project continues.

I'll put in 200 BTC. A minimum amount of 100 BTC  is required for investment. The capital will be used towards developers/a developer, a graphic designer to design the notes, and reliable secure hosting. Profit and ownership will be split according to amount invested.

Suggestions are highly encouraged.

If you wish to develop or design for this project, please post your credentials and interest below.

If you wish to invest, post below as well. Again, there is a 100 BTC minimum.
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Ryland R. Taylor-Almanza
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February 27, 2011, 09:46:08 PM
 #2

I think this is a great idea, hope it goes somewhere!
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February 27, 2011, 09:53:08 PM
 #3

I didn’t follow up regarding the extraction of BTC solely from a private address. How does this work easily for someone non tech-savvy? Why not just print the public key on the note, too?

Other than that, I think it’s a nice project. May be investing later when I make up my mind.

"Bitcoin had been transformed from an anarachistic challenge to the financial status quo, to the crypto spawn of Satan, fuelled by cut-throat greed and delusions of avarice." - MatTheCat
"these people don't seem to want to stop till Bitcoin is completely destroyed and left like an old cum rag in the corner of the room." - ShroomsKit
ribuck
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February 27, 2011, 10:15:22 PM
 #4

These checks are being printed at home by the purchaser, right? That probably rules out double-sided printing. You'll need to make sure the design is also usable for people with black-and-white laser printers.

If you use Julian Assange's image to imply endorsement it will cause problems, but I guess you know that already. Nice attention-getting idea though.

Rather than engaging a designer to produce the note, why not have a design competition with a BTC prize?

Your example shows a commission of 0.5%, not 0.005%. This is too low for a serious business. There's no reason why a Bitcoin check shouldn't have a fee of 1% or 2%. You will need to cover advertising and support costs, in addition to the server hosting costs. With a 2% fee, a check for BTC 20 would cost BTC 20.40.

Anyway, nice concept!
Anonymous
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February 27, 2011, 10:37:11 PM
 #5

I didn’t follow up regarding the extraction of BTC solely from a private address. How does this work easily for someone non tech-savvy? Why not just print the public key on the note, too?

Other than that, I think it’s a nice project. May be investing later when I make up my mind.
Well, the less tech-savvy don't have to necessarily redeem the note. I doubt they would know what to do with a public key as well.

We would need to develop redemption software that takes a QR code and automatically puts the funds in a wallet. This can be done with just a private key alone, I believe.
Anonymous
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February 27, 2011, 10:40:27 PM
 #6

These checks are being printed at home by the purchaser, right? That probably rules out double-sided printing. You'll need to make sure the design is also usable for people with black-and-white laser printers.

If you use Julian Assange's image to imply endorsement it will cause problems, but I guess you know that already. Nice attention-getting idea though.

Rather than engaging a designer to produce the note, why not have a design competition with a BTC prize?

Your example shows a commission of 0.5%, not 0.005%. This is too low for a serious business. There's no reason why a Bitcoin check shouldn't have a fee of 1% or 2%. You will need to cover advertising and support costs, in addition to the server hosting costs. With a 2% fee, a check for BTC 20 would cost BTC 20.40.

Anyway, nice concept!
Yes, yes they are. A standard laser printer can still do double-sided if you flip the page after the first print. I don't think we would need to accommodate every printer under-the-sun, but black-and-white could be possible.

I will finalize the number after further evaluation. A more detailed plan is in the works.

The competition is an excellent idea. Thank you!
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February 27, 2011, 10:41:28 PM
 #7

We would need to develop redemption software that takes a QR code and automatically puts the funds in a wallet...
It's also necessary for the redemption software to immediately spend the coins to another address in the same wallet, to make the original check useless for others.

Otherwise, multiple people can scan the QR code into their wallets, and no-one knows how many others have the coins, but the first to spend the coins will be the one who gets the value.
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February 27, 2011, 10:47:25 PM
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A standard laser printer can still do double-sided if you flip the page after the first print
Double-sided printing is possible, but it's surely too difficult to be practical for the average user to get everything oriented correctly.

I don't see any problem for these checks to be single-sided though.
Anonymous
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February 27, 2011, 11:03:21 PM
 #9

A standard laser printer can still do double-sided if you flip the page after the first print
Double-sided printing is possible, but it's surely too difficult to be practical for the average user to get everything oriented correctly.

I don't see any problem for these checks to be single-sided though.
There really isn't. We can save a double-sided version for later.
Anonymous
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February 27, 2011, 11:14:25 PM
 #10

Also, 20 - (20 * .005) =/= 19.9 BTC, ribuck?
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February 27, 2011, 11:27:43 PM
 #11

Wouldn't your service be centralizing bitcoin?
Anonymous
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February 27, 2011, 11:27:54 PM
 #12

Interesting idea Atlas which could work great. If you combine it with an android or iphone app and the proposed Bruce Wagner idea of an account hub merchants can setup you could get the check scanned on the spot.

Maybe an api for other bitcoin sites so they can print  checks or vouchers redeemable in their  stores ?

This would be more secure than normal checks and is in a form that is familiar to people. Unlike fiat cash there is actual backing to these pieces of paper.

Im interested in investing in this idea.
Anonymous
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February 27, 2011, 11:34:07 PM
 #13

Wouldn't your service be centralizing bitcoin?

As long as the service doesn't keep the private keys stored over the long-term, I don't believe so.
Anonymous
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February 27, 2011, 11:35:34 PM
 #14

Wouldn't your service be centralizing bitcoin?


No more than  mybitcoin.com , mtgox.com, or any other online service.

You could do the same thing by running your own bitcoind server and printing your own checks - for free .  Smiley



Anonymous
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February 27, 2011, 11:52:41 PM
 #15

Wouldn't your service be centralizing bitcoin?


No more than  mybitcoin.com , mtgox.com, or any other online service.

You could do the same thing by running your own bitcoind server and printing your own checks - for free .  Smiley




People should be able to trust our notes more easily with the verification services we'll offer. Enter the note's serial ID on our front homepage and it will tell you if the bill is real or not (checks public key balance). It's why people will use our service over printing their own with no verifiable source.
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February 28, 2011, 12:25:41 AM
 #16

This is a very interesting idea, and would definitely be vital for the less tech-savvy as well as those without cheap, efficient access to the internet.

The problems I foresee with this would be the following:

- How do we know each check has been "genuinely" created?
     For example, how can we be certain that for each check there are BitCoins that represent this, we get into the realm of fractional reserve banking. I suppose the fee is supposed to prevent that, but I still feel this needs to be addressed. The issue here is that a person is allowed to print their own money, literally. What happens if somebody prints out loads of the same check. Fair enough, the serial is unique and can be checked on the internet... but if you already quick and easy access to the internet, why bother with paper checks in the first place?

- Isn't it a bit lumber-some
     So if somebody wishes to trade, they need to get that person's public key and then print it on their home computer, assuming they have a printer, to start with, and then trade it with that specific person only? They then cash it in on their home computer? Sounds like alot of labour for people who already have access to the internet anyway to use BitCoin client instead of this service, which also costs money.

-=Suggestion=-

A paper-currency version of BitCoin is what will truly propagate it amongst those without access to computers or even internet. Perhaps some research into how current fiat currency is printed, and the security technologies invested into them in making them unlikely to be counterfeited should be undertaken and simply applied to BitCoin. I do not know what kind of BitCoin Bank would want to undertake the project, but basically it would work as a paper-currency "pegged" to the BitCoin.

Yes I understand the inherent risks associated with this endeavour, especially considering the fact that BitCoin is supposed to steer away from fiat, centrally controlled currency, however, to build on the free idea, make it so that in order to withdraw X amount of BitCoins in note-form, one needs to pay an extra 1%, or whatever is decided by the issuing authority, more than what they are withdrawing in order to go towards the BitCoin's banks costs of producing the note, and also as a payment for the service of using the note amongst people who do not need the internet, this would be useful in third-world countries wishing to adopt BitCoin, but are unable to due to inaccessibility to cheap internet or computers.

Of course, this doesn't mean only one bank should rule them all, perhaps as other banks prop up, they also make their own unique paper-currency, and the free market will eventually decide who to put their trust in, with regards to who will promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of the BitCoins the notes represent.

Certainly, the ideal way would be to have everybody use the BitCoin client, but I fear this may be too idealistic, people have a sentiment to holding cash in their hand, not on their hard drives.

Some people, anyway.

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I then use the money to buy BitCoins. You can too!
Anonymous
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February 28, 2011, 12:42:46 AM
 #17

Wouldn't your service be centralizing bitcoin?


No more than  mybitcoin.com , mtgox.com, or any other online service.

You could do the same thing by running your own bitcoind server and printing your own checks - for free .  Smiley




People should be able to trust our notes more easily with the verification services we'll offer. Enter the note's serial ID on our front homepage and it will tell you if the bill is real or not (checks public key balance). It's why people will use our service over printing their own with no verifiable source.

I actually wrote that same thing in my last reply but deleted it  Smiley

If the merchant has  a 'check' box next to the check code entry box they could freeze the amount and claim the payment so that the coins couldn't be transferred after the customer handed the check over. 
Anonymous
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February 28, 2011, 12:44:44 AM
 #18

- How do we know each check has been "genuinely" created?
     For example, how can we be certain that for each check there are BitCoins that represent this, we get into the realm of fractional reserve banking. I suppose the fee is supposed to prevent that, but I still feel this needs to be addressed. The issue here is that a person is allowed to print their own money, literally. What happens if somebody prints out loads of the same check. Fair enough, the serial is unique and can be checked on the internet... but if you already quick and easy access to the internet, why bother with paper checks in the first place?

Well, we must remember that I'm not intending to offer a paper currency pegged to Bitcoin. This could serve similar purposes but these are essentially checks and should be treated as such. They can bounce if not used with careful verification. This is something we should accept.

- Isn't it a bit lumber-some
     So if somebody wishes to trade, they need to get that person's public key and then print it on their home computer, assuming they have a printer, to start with, and then trade it with that specific person only? They then cash it in on their home computer? Sounds like alot of labour for people who already have access to the internet anyway to use BitCoin client instead of this service, which also costs money.

No, no public keys are needed. A public address can be found with a private key alone. Software will be needed to make redemption from the paper easy. It can be as simple as scanning the code and the money will appear in your wallet within moments.


A paper-currency version of BitCoin is what will truly propagate it amongst those without access to computers or even internet. Perhaps some research into how current fiat currency is printed, and the security technologies invested into them in making them unlikely to be counterfeited should be undertaken and simply applied to BitCoin. I do not know what kind of BitCoin Bank would want to undertake the project, but basically it would work as a paper-currency "pegged" to the BitCoin.

If you want to make a paper currency that is counterfeit-proof, go right ahead. My service does not intend to offer that at the moment.

Yes I understand the inherent risks associated with this endeavour, especially considering the fact that BitCoin is supposed to steer away from fiat, centrally controlled currency, however, to build on the free idea, make it so that in order to withdraw X amount of BitCoins in note-form, one needs to pay an extra 1%, or whatever is decided by the issuing authority, more than what they are withdrawing in order to go towards the BitCoin's banks costs of producing the note, and also as a payment for the service of using the note amongst people who do not need the internet, this would be useful in third-world countries wishing to adopt BitCoin, but are unable to due to inaccessibility to cheap internet or computers.

This will be considered in the future if there is a demand for such insurance.

Anyways, thank you.
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February 28, 2011, 12:52:26 AM
 #19

OK, so if this works primarily as a cheque, system, I cannot see why people won't just use their BitCoin clients?

The reason why checks work in the real world, is that some people cannot get bank accounts, so they use checks to go to these services who cash it in for a price and give them cash.

The service you are proposing offers no extra utility. In fact, it would cost somebody more to use your check method, and it also takes up more time, they have to print it etc etc.

I do not understand the advantage you are "selling". Why should somebody use your check-service as oppose to send BitCoins to the payee directly using the client, which doesn't cost anything?

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February 28, 2011, 12:59:08 AM
 #20

I would say you make the "simple" "complicated".
What for the QR code?! And Julian Assange's face?! Waste of color ink?! Or to make them look nice?

Want to make it simple? Easy! Create a code/pass check to redeem and you're good. The user can write it down, print it up, whatever.

As for the idea of BTC "notes", as I said on other post, "notes" are a cancer on real world trade... are you sure you want them here?

Want a practical use for those "checks"? A and B will met in the coffee for trade BTC, A handles a 20 BTC check (code/pass) to B. B arrives home input the code/pass from A and transfers to his BTC client.

Want even less hassle to trade BTC in the real World? Fine! Open an account at MyBitcoin or create a similar service for the purpose, fund it with 20 BTC, pick some acrylic gray/silver ink, dishwasher detergent and thin tape. Print the user/pass you used with MyBitcoin in a card, cover both fields with thin tape, paint over the tape with a mix of acrylic/detergent. Sell the card to the buyer. Now all he needs is to scratch the fields with a coin or so, go to MyBitcoin or the service you created. Enter the given user/pass and withdraw it.
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