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Question: Would you buy a 0.1 BTC Casascius Coin as a giveaway?
Sure - 31 (37.8%)
Probably not - 13 (15.9%)
Depends on the price - 38 (46.3%)
Total Voters: 82

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Author Topic: Would you buy a 0.1 BTC Casascius Physical Bitcoin as a giveaway?  (Read 5597 times)
BitBlitz
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November 16, 2011, 09:05:00 PM
 #21

For 'giveaway' coins with no privkey security, the denomination is less important to me than the purchase overhead.  If the overhead was extremely low, I'd buy 0.1, 1, even 5BTC coins to give away, depending on the audience. 



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November 16, 2011, 09:17:12 PM
 #22

I do think that the scratch-off for a private key would be cheaper and would help get the idea across better. I've considered trying to make some myself for circulation at work amongst my office, but haven't gotten any further than the idea yet. If lotteries consider them secure enough for scratch tickets, I would think that it ought to work well for the lower-denomination "bills" (in the 0.1 to 1 BTC range), if one could find a way to manufacturer them cheaply enough.
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November 17, 2011, 12:18:03 AM
 #23

I do think that the scratch-off for a private key would be cheaper and would help get the idea across better. I've considered trying to make some myself for circulation at work amongst my office, but haven't gotten any further than the idea yet. If lotteries consider them secure enough for scratch tickets, I would think that it ought to work well for the lower-denomination "bills" (in the 0.1 to 1 BTC range), if one could find a way to manufacturer them cheaply enough.

Scratch off stickers are cheap and common. You can get them at office supply stores.

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November 17, 2011, 12:23:06 AM
 #24

Yes, if the overhead price was low enough.

Put it this way - I'd buy 10 for 2BTC.  Not sure if that's even reasonable because I don't know what your production costs are, but I'd do it for sure at that price, and maybe at a higher price.
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November 17, 2011, 12:31:05 AM
 #25

After all the feedback, here is what I am thinking.

1. The giveaway coin should perhaps be 1 BTC, so the production costs can be much lower than the face value.

2. I should use the 22-character private key.

3. I should use or provide round gold scratchoff stickers (even if that meant I just threw the stickers in, and you stick them yourself).

I have ordered some sample aluminum coins from the coin minting company to see how well I can engrave on the colored aluminum with the equipment I have available.  My belief is that I can go straight from an SQL database to the laser engraver so I can blow out thousands of coins a day - as long as the laser can make an impression on these coins (it won't do jack squat on my brass or gold coins without a coating of chemicals).

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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November 17, 2011, 12:52:13 AM
 #26

What color, gold?
That would be col to do some coins that are silver with a colored plastic border.


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November 17, 2011, 01:03:58 AM
 #27

I think tossing the stickers or holograms or whatever in the envelope with the coins is just fine, the point is the security. If I received one of these with no clue what bitcoin was, I would probably keep the unadulterated coin and do my research without pulling the sticker. If I was sold, I would be very likely to pay it forward and give it to someone else to hook them. Seriously, this is a great idea.

As far as value, it would be nice to have something where your average joe could order a hundred without breaking the bank. I might pick up five or six 1btc coins to contribute to spreading the word, but if they were .1btc coins, I would be getting 50 or 60 (assuming the cost is low enough). Consider the adoption rate of fringe technology like this and the numbers game might be the way to go.

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November 17, 2011, 01:09:10 AM
 #28

After all the feedback, here is what I am thinking.

1. The giveaway coin should perhaps be 1 BTC, so the production costs can be much lower than the face value.

2. I should use the 22-character private key.

3. I should use or provide round gold scratchoff stickers (even if that meant I just threw the stickers in, and you stick them yourself).

I have ordered some sample aluminum coins from the coin minting company to see how well I can engrave on the colored aluminum with the equipment I have available.  My belief is that I can go straight from an SQL database to the laser engraver so I can blow out thousands of coins a day - as long as the laser can make an impression on these coins (it won't do jack squat on my brass or gold coins without a coating of chemicals).

Unless your laser is more than 45w you're not going to touch aluminum either, unless you were to spray them with powdered grpahite and then clean them off in a mild chemical bath afterwards(1% h2o2)

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November 17, 2011, 01:11:07 AM
 #29

After all the feedback, here is what I am thinking.

1. The giveaway coin should perhaps be 1 BTC, so the production costs can be much lower than the face value.

2. I should use the 22-character private key.

3. I should use or provide round gold scratchoff stickers (even if that meant I just threw the stickers in, and you stick them yourself).

I have ordered some sample aluminum coins from the coin minting company to see how well I can engrave on the colored aluminum with the equipment I have available.  My belief is that I can go straight from an SQL database to the laser engraver so I can blow out thousands of coins a day - as long as the laser can make an impression on these coins (it won't do jack squat on my brass or gold coins without a coating of chemicals).
Uhhh, bad idea to just provide the hologram as an extra.  That ruins your whole security process!  A person could order a bunch of these, copy the private keys, then stick the holograms on them and sell them as "unused", when in fact, they are used.  Now, you mention that you would be potentially using aluminum for these giveaway coins, which would mitigate the problem of used coins being sold as unused, at least for people who are already familiar with the coins.

But, a far greater risk is that of people buying "real" casascius coins, peeling off the hologram, stashing the BTC elsewhere, then buying a bunch of these giveaway coins to use the hologram stickers on the "real" coins.  Suddenly, a person can't trust any casascius coins, because they have no idea if the person using them has already spent the BTC and simply replaced the hologram.

If I'm wrong, tell me.  Maybe there's something I'm missing.

FWIW, I would not buy 1 BTC coins for giveaway.  Maybe I'm just poorer than the other folks here, but I just don't have that kind of money to spend.  I would much prefer smaller coins.  Though, again, it depends how much it would cost per coin.
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November 17, 2011, 01:16:26 AM
 #30


But, a far greater risk is that of people buying "real" casascius coins, peeling off the hologram, stashing the BTC elsewhere, then buying a bunch of these giveaway coins to use the hologram stickers on the "real" coins.  Suddenly, a person can't trust any casascius coins, because they have no idea if the person using them has already spent the BTC and simply replaced the hologram.

If I'm wrong, tell me.  Maybe there's something I'm missing.


I think the talk is of some different, 'scratch-off' sticker, so the overlap with the fancy coins won't be an issue. I was the one who brought up holograms again, but your point never even crossed my mind. That would create some confusion for sure. Scammers gonna scam, and giving them the tools to do so isn't a good plan.

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November 17, 2011, 01:21:47 AM
 #31


But, a far greater risk is that of people buying "real" casascius coins, peeling off the hologram, stashing the BTC elsewhere, then buying a bunch of these giveaway coins to use the hologram stickers on the "real" coins.  Suddenly, a person can't trust any casascius coins, because they have no idea if the person using them has already spent the BTC and simply replaced the hologram.

If I'm wrong, tell me.  Maybe there's something I'm missing.


I think the talk is of some different, 'scratch-off' sticker, so the overlap with the fancy coins won't be an issue. I was the one who brought up holograms again, but your point never even crossed my mind. That would create some confusion for sure. Scammers gonna scam, and giving them the tools to do so isn't a good plan.
Ok, so both the sticker and the coin are different.  Is the gold scratch off sticker not hologrammed?  That should be enough difference, IMO, to differentiate the two.  Basically, if someone would get confused by a gold scratch-off sticker stuck on a "real" coin, then they'd probably get confused by any random hologram or sticker that a scammer could purchase.
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November 17, 2011, 01:57:32 AM
 #32

http://www.scratchoffworks.com/
http://www.promoprintinggroup.com/custom.htm

Apparently scratch-off printing is done by a ton of places and is not too cost prohibitive. Sounds like a real fancy state-lottery quality (gloss and UV coating) scratcher is around $0.18 each in a 5000 lot, plus design and shipping costs. Not free, but not too terrible.

The first company I linked does gift and phone cards too. Maybe something like that loaded with .1 or .5btc could be a good promotional item if the coins end up being cost prohibitive. They have got to be pretty damn cheap, because I was buying phone cards for less than a buck all the time when I lived in Panama. You could also choose between the flimsy plastic card and then the thicker credit-style cards.

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November 17, 2011, 02:14:57 AM
 #33

http://www.scratchoffworks.com/
http://www.promoprintinggroup.com/custom.htm

Apparently scratch-off printing is done by a ton of places and is not too cost prohibitive. Sounds like a real fancy state-lottery quality (gloss and UV coating) scratcher is around $0.18 each in a 5000 lot, plus design and shipping costs. Not free, but not too terrible.

The first company I linked does gift and phone cards too. Maybe something like that loaded with .1 or .5btc could be a good promotional item if the coins end up being cost prohibitive. They have got to be pretty damn cheap, because I was buying phone cards for less than a buck all the time when I lived in Panama. You could also choose between the flimsy plastic card and then the thicker credit-style cards.

The only issue with that is what if someone at the printer figures out what they are and cashes them all in.  Now if the key was encrypted with a passphrase that you were given when you ordered (and you could write on the card when you gave it out).  You would need client support to make redeeming easy, but I think that would ensure the security of the private key.

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November 17, 2011, 03:15:26 AM
 #34

Uhhh, bad idea to just provide the hologram as an extra.  That ruins your whole security process!  A person could order a bunch of these, copy the private keys, then stick the holograms on them and sell them as "unused", when in fact, they are used.  Now, you mention that you would be potentially using aluminum for these giveaway coins, which would mitigate the problem of used coins being sold as unused, at least for people who are already familiar with the coins.

If I'm wrong, tell me.  Maybe there's something I'm missing.

The only thing wrong is the misunderstanding that I'd give out my holograms.  I did mention "gold scratchoff stickers".  By that, I mean the kind you can easily find via Google, the kind you can scratch with a coin to reveal what's underneath.

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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November 17, 2011, 03:19:53 AM
 #35

The only issue with that is what if someone at the printer figures out what they are and cashes them all in.  Now if the key was encrypted with a passphrase that you were given when you ordered (and you could write on the card when you gave it out).  You would client support to make redeeming easy, but I think that would ensure the security of the private key.

When I first investigated it, I looked at http://www.pollardbanknote.com.

They make lottery tickets.  Apparently they have some kind of controls to account for the security of what's under the scratchoff.  I assume it maybe works something like registered mail, where there's documented control and custody of all the secret data at every step of the process.

Presumably, an acceptable set of controls might be an arrangement where they generate the secrets using a program you provide, and then they agree in writing to be accountable for any compromises.  If they generate the secrets, not even the person ordering the tickets should be able to compromise them.  Therefore, any occurrence of an intact ticket where the value underneath has been redeemed should be prima facie evidence of a compromise.

But I don't really know if that's how they work.  Bitcoin is different from a lottery.  With a lottery, only a few privileged people are able to make use of secrets (e.g. a retailer who can sort the winning tickets from the losers out of his inventory)... on the other hand, with bitcoin, anyone with the secrets can steal the funds, so the controls applied to lottery tickets may not be enough.

What you want though ideally, regardless of how it is done, is exactly ONE entity who could be held responsible for a theft, and who can also afford the responsibility.

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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November 17, 2011, 07:10:18 AM
 #36

Somewhat off-topic, but on a new series of coin it would be cool to have the public key inscribed around the edge of the coin (edge-incused), something like this:


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November 17, 2011, 07:46:28 AM
 #37

For low security, give away coins, I wouldn't put the public address on the coin, only private. Public/Private keys imply a level of security, which is too high for this.

Run a vanitygen so that all private keys equate to public keys '1NoSend...' so that people know that these addresses were created in a low security environment for newbies, and not to fund these addresses. Even Grandma would be able to understand if her account started '1NoSend...' to not put money in it.

Now, a newbie would see the private key and ask himself "if only there was a way that I could fund an address without giving away the private key...", which leads to the understanding of public/private technology.

edit: have your website be able to sweep these (and only these) private keys to a public address of their choosing, or to check balance.

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November 17, 2011, 09:24:14 AM
 #38

If there were a way to easily scan a public/private keypair into a smartphone app, I would be able to give away small coins and would gain the trust and confidence of the consumer. I could then sell larger amounts of coins, bills, or whatever. QED. Selling them for a markup would be easy and if folks want gold plated collectable Casascius coins, so much the better. I know these apps are coming. Maybe there will be one under my tree this year.  Cheesy

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November 17, 2011, 09:31:08 AM
 #39

Please reconsider the 0.1 coins or let's go for a compromise and say 0.5. I don't think many of us would want to buy large amounts of unsecure 1 btc coins for mass giveaway. The 1 btc coins you already provide are great gifts but they are not suited for mass giveaway and neither are any other type of 1 btc coin.

Also it's very unlikely that Bitcoin will stay at such low price forever so the 1 btc coins might not be so "cheap" in 6 months.

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November 17, 2011, 11:09:52 AM
 #40

Would it be possible to put the private key as a QR code on the coin? This would make it much easier to redeem.
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