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casascius
Mike Caldwell
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The Casascius 1oz 10BTC Silver Round (w/ Gold B)


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September 08, 2011, 03:04:47 AM
 #1

I would like to put out some feelers for a project I am considering alongside my physical bitcoins: Bitcoin Bullion.

Bitcoin Bullion is a gold-plated brick that is fashioned to look like a gold bar, but says on it, 100 BTC, has the bitcoin logo, and "14k plated".  In addition, there would be a hologram just like my physical bitcoins, beneath it is a private key encumbering 100 BTC with the bitcoin address on the outside.  Unlike on the coins, the hologram would be covered with a polyacrylate coating that would have to be dug through a little more aggressively to remove the sticker.

This bar would be plated with real gold.  They would be a fantastic (not to mention good looking) way for someone to physically store bitcoins in a safe.

Question is, is this worth my while?  Who'd be interested?  I would have to charge a premium of about $25 to $30 per bar for this to be worthwhile.  The bar would be about 3 1/2 inches long by 1 3/4 inches wide, and about a quarter inch thick.  They would weigh about 1/3 lb each.

A bar of solid gold in the same size would be about 13 ounces.  100 BTC is clearly not worth the same as 13 oz gold today, but there's no better way to dress your BTC for success.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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September 08, 2011, 04:15:31 AM
 #2

I would like to put out some feelers for a project I am considering alongside my physical bitcoins: Bitcoin Bullion.

Bitcoin Bullion is a gold-plated brick that is fashioned to look like a gold bar, but says on it, 100 BTC, has the bitcoin logo, and "14k plated".  In addition, there would be a hologram just like my physical bitcoins, beneath it is a private key encumbering 100 BTC with the bitcoin address on the outside.  Unlike on the coins, the hologram would be covered with a polyacrylate coating that would have to be dug through a little more aggressively to remove the sticker.

This bar would be plated with real gold.  They would be a fantastic (not to mention good looking) way for someone to physically store bitcoins in a safe.

Question is, is this worth my while?  Who'd be interested?  I would have to charge a premium of about $25 to $30 per bar for this to be worthwhile.  The bar would be about 3 1/2 inches long by 1 3/4 inches wide, and about a quarter inch thick.  They would weigh about 1/3 lb each.

A bar of solid gold in the same size would be about 13 ounces.  100 BTC is clearly not worth the same as 13 oz gold today, but there's no better way to dress your BTC for success.

I'm not immediately interested.. but might be in 6 months or so.
I wonder though - do you have any information on the longevity risks of the paper/ink used for the private key?
Is it specifically 'archival quality' ink?   While I'm *fairly* confident almost any ink you get nowdays will be ok for decades - one wonders if it's possible to get a batch of cheap ink that somehow degrades relatively quickly.

I also wonder how much risk there is for someone to damage the private key whilst 'a little more aggressively' digging through the coating.
Optimally I suppose it would be designed such that is reasonably hard to get wrong, but also takes as long as possible, so that the physicality of the thing acts as a slight encumbrance to quick theft. 
It should be much more convenient to grab the bar(s) and run than to peel&reveal to the blockchain via smartphone prepared with key-handling software.

Well.. perhaps that's just a 'nice to have'.  They're still cool as a collectible and/or satisfyingly tangible offline storage!






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Mike Caldwell
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The Casascius 1oz 10BTC Silver Round (w/ Gold B)


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September 08, 2011, 04:24:41 AM
 #3

I wonder though - do you have any information on the longevity risks of the paper/ink used for the private key?
Is it specifically 'archival quality' ink?   While I'm *fairly* confident almost any ink you get nowdays will be ok for decades - one wonders if it's possible to get a batch of cheap ink that somehow degrades relatively quickly.

I also wonder how much risk there is for someone to damage the private key whilst 'a little more aggressively' digging through the coating.
Optimally I suppose it would be designed such that is reasonably hard to get wrong, but also takes as long as possible, so that the physicality of the thing acts as a slight encumbrance to quick theft. 
It should be much more convenient to grab the bar(s) and run than to peel&reveal to the blockchain via smartphone prepared with key-handling software.

Well.. perhaps that's just a 'nice to have'.  They're still cool as a collectible and/or satisfyingly tangible offline storage!

I print the paper using inkjet (intentional choice) and only using genuine ink from the printer manufacturer.  I print the private keys in a "slightly off black" color to ensure that all four inks (CMYK) contribute to the text.  These photo inks are generally meant for archival (in the photographic sense - color fidelity over time)... for the bitcoins to become worthless, all four colors of the ink would literally have to fade, but become completely invisible... which is pretty unlikely.

Having played around with the acrylic, I think it would be pretty hard to damage the private key unless it were attacked directly and aggressively.  The coating only adheres to the coin at the edge of the sticker, there would be no need to attack it at the middle where the private key is found.  If you attack the edge, the whole sticker can be peeled up, the private key will likely be unscratched let alone unreadable.  (the sticker, of course, will be completely destroyed)

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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September 08, 2011, 04:40:55 AM
 #4

Dude I love your idea you should totally do it. I don't get where the coins would be stored or do you stand by ready to send them when they send the code? that part confuses me. The gold bar with shiny stuff on it and bitcoins associated with it sounds great, though.
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The Casascius 1oz 10BTC Silver Round (w/ Gold B)


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September 08, 2011, 04:45:25 AM
 #5

Dude I love your idea you should totally do it. I don't get where the coins would be stored or do you stand by ready to send them when they send the code? that part confuses me. The gold bar with shiny stuff on it and bitcoins associated with it sounds great, though.

The coins are on the blockchain - the code represents the private key needed to spend them.  They are completely independent of me.  Anyone with the code can spend the coin(s).  The private key has a mathematical relationship to the bitcoin address that the bitcoin client recognizes.  You import the key into your wallet and the balance automatically appears.  Right now, support for importing keys isn't that great, must be done from the command line using the pywallet utility or a patched client - it takes a little bit of technical know-how to make it happen, but I am convinced that future bitcoin clients and websites will support direct entry of private key codes by users.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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Charlie 'Van Bitcoin' Shrem


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September 08, 2011, 05:23:27 AM
 #6

Great idea!

It can also be given as gifts to clients, family members.

Perhaps the exchanges can accept a private key as well.


Let me know when this launches!  Cheesy

Bitcoin pioneer. An apostle of Satoshi Nakamoto. A crusader for a new, better, tech-driven society. A dreamer.

More about me: http://CharlieShrem.com
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So much code.


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September 08, 2011, 05:30:46 AM
 #7

I'm interested and will stay tuned.

I'd say work up a prototype and show an image on the OP. Even a computer rendering would be really great from a PR standpoint.

PGP KEY | 1Bitcoin3Tg2KWyAq3wzivdqwYqGwKYaGd
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September 08, 2011, 05:41:31 AM
 #8

I think it'd be nice if you shipped these with a little certificate (to also be available on your website) that basically acts as a contract showing your business identity and detailing what your part of the deal is as far as loading the BTC value without keeping a copy etc.

It's fine for those of us on the forums who already have trust in you to take it as a reasonable bet that it wouldn't serve your interests to act contrary to your postings on the forum, but for more general appeal (e.g if we want to sell them on as is) some sort of document indicating your processes (and who the legally responsible entity is for any demonstrated violation of them is) would be ideal.

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September 08, 2011, 06:14:35 AM
 #9

Dude I love your idea you should totally do it. I don't get where the coins would be stored or do you stand by ready to send them when they send the code? that part confuses me. The gold bar with shiny stuff on it and bitcoins associated with it sounds great, though.

The coins are on the blockchain - the code represents the private key needed to spend them.  They are completely independent of me.  Anyone with the code can spend the coin(s).  The private key has a mathematical relationship to the bitcoin address that the bitcoin client recognizes.  You import the key into your wallet and the balance automatically appears.  Right now, support for importing keys isn't that great, must be done from the command line using the pywallet utility or a patched client - it takes a little bit of technical know-how to make it happen, but I am convinced that future bitcoin clients and websites will support direct entry of private key codes by users.

So you actually have it figured out. There is more potential than you might expect with the keys thing. You could basically sell Bitcoin gift cards with that. A new kind of exchange that would allow a transaction in the physical world to purchase bitcoins. very exciting.
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September 08, 2011, 06:26:31 AM
 #10

Dude I love your idea you should totally do it. I don't get where the coins would be stored or do you stand by ready to send them when they send the code? that part confuses me. The gold bar with shiny stuff on it and bitcoins associated with it sounds great, though.

The coins are on the blockchain - the code represents the private key needed to spend them.  They are completely independent of me.  Anyone with the code can spend the coin(s).  The private key has a mathematical relationship to the bitcoin address that the bitcoin client recognizes.  You import the key into your wallet and the balance automatically appears.  Right now, support for importing keys isn't that great, must be done from the command line using the pywallet utility or a patched client - it takes a little bit of technical know-how to make it happen, but I am convinced that future bitcoin clients and websites will support direct entry of private key codes by users.

So you actually have it figured out. There is more potential than you might expect with the keys thing. You could basically sell Bitcoin gift cards with that. A new kind of exchange that would allow a transaction in the physical world to purchase bitcoins. very exciting.

I imagine the killer app along these lines would be something using the same system as a lottery scratch-ticket.  Surely the premium on those would be small.
Getting those for sale at newsagents and having a mobile phone app that allowed instant import would be amazing.


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September 08, 2011, 09:57:04 AM
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While this could have its merit as a collector's item, I don't find it as attractive or useful as the coins.

Wouldn't it be better to make new coins in other denominations? The BTC 100 coin would simply need to be clearly distinguishable from the current BTC 1 coin. A good scheme would consist in combining both colour and coin sizes, for example having three copper-coloured coins in the denominations of BTC 0.01, 0.02 and  0.05, three silver-coloured coins for 0.10, 0.20 and 0.50, three gold-coloured coins for 1, 2 and 5. Basically you would have three standard sizes and a colour associated with each order of magnitude. With such a scheme, the BTC 100 coin would be the small one in the 100-200-500 series, so it would be like the current BTC 1 coin but with a different colour, and you can assign additional colours for other orders of magnitude. The Casascius coins could end up becoming the standard that other coin issuers in the future would also follow.
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September 08, 2011, 12:33:39 PM
 #12

What would be the point of this? You'd have a useless brick you couldn't use for any sort of exchange and wouldn't have it's value connected in any way to the bitcoin itself. It's just a stupid idea in general really.
casascius
Mike Caldwell
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The Casascius 1oz 10BTC Silver Round (w/ Gold B)


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September 08, 2011, 12:47:38 PM
 #13

What would be the point of this? You'd have a useless brick you couldn't use for any sort of exchange and wouldn't have it's value connected in any way to the bitcoin itself. It's just a stupid idea in general really.

The appeal would be to somebody who wants to sit on some bitcoins as an investment and who is not interested in trading them online, nor learning how to properly secure them on a computer.  Someone who bought bitcoins on a brick would never have to worry about them getting hacked.  The same kind of person who buys gold and demands physical possession because he doesn't want to worry that whoever is holding the gold on his behalf is going to say "just kidding" if a financial collapse means gold in hand ever becomes king.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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