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Question: If you could buy a batch of private keys, would you make your own physical bitcoins?
Yes, I would.  The private key offering would do it for me. - 3 (7.9%)
Yes.  But the private key offering is irrelevant. - 8 (21.1%)
Yes, but only if it were based on cryptographic trust (EC multiplication) instead of just your notarized word - 4 (10.5%)
No, making physical bitcoins doesn't interest me. - 13 (34.2%)
No, but I might if I had more resources (money, time, etc.) - 10 (26.3%)
Total Voters: 38

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Author Topic: Would you make your own Casascius-like Coins if...  (Read 2035 times)
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Mike Caldwell
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January 21, 2012, 07:56:36 AM
 #1

On another thread, I proposed a combined order of Bitcoin security holograms for the purpose of allowing others to make their own Casascius-like coins and other physical Bitcoin products.  As most of you know, I make Casascius Coins, but I wish for others to make physical Bitcoins as well.  (I just want them to exist - it promotes Bitcoin - I don't desire a "monopoly" on physical Bitcoins).

That thread is here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=60136.0

One thing that occurred to me is that a significant obstacle to others making coins would be the production of private keys.  And it's not as though I can simply just sell a batch of private keys to someone - doing so would have mutually unfavorable security implications.

On that same thread, I offered to provide a service where someone could come to Utah for a visit and we'd make a batch of private keys together.  Gabe at MyBitcoinMint expressed an interest.  The purpose of having two unrelated strangers would be sort of like the same reason Mormon missionaries travel in twos - it's the job of one to keep the other in check, and rat the other out if he does anything bad.  So, the other party and I would both participate in creating a very large batch of private keys, and then notarize letters for one another certifying that both were in custody of all the keys at all time and that they are secure.

I got to thinking that if I did such a thing, we could just as easily create and sell batches of private key circles for other people - where the only extra step is that we seal and mail the keys to our mutual customer, along with a notarized statement from both of us that we kept one another in check.  That would offer a much greater degree of confidence in the product, not just in terms of preventing shenanigans, but also that more careful eyes were watching and double-checking against mistakes in production.  (Note that this production method has nothing to do with elliptic curve multiplication - it is simply a normal private key whose security has been attested by two independent people with a notarized signature.)

In my other thread I offer a batch of 2500 holograms for $500.

So I want to know... if you could also buy a batch of 2500 certified private keys to go with them for $500, already pre-cut into circles so they fit right into the coin slugs, would that tip you into being interested in making your own coins?

The only last thing you would need is the physical coin slug itself.  You could source them yourself, or I could offer mine... either way, you're looking at about 35 cents per coin slug including shipping (and perhaps less if you go and do your own artwork, get your own dies done, and can meet the minimum order quantities of a token company, which for the company that did mine, was 5,000, and wait 4-6 weeks for the production)

Bottom line is, you'd be able to create your own physical bitcoins for under 75 cents USD per coin - which is far less than the markup I charge for Casascius Coins.  And especially if you are not in the US, you could also sell them in your local market and make a decent profit.

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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January 21, 2012, 08:32:37 AM
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wtf? one more intermediary to trust for not holding the private key?

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January 21, 2012, 08:40:40 AM
 #3

wtf? one more intermediary to trust for not holding the private key?

Unless there's collusion, the other person would have no opportunity to ever get the private key.  He would witness its production from birth to death in digital form and the destruction of the only hard drive that held it, and the printed key would leave the room it was created in exactly once: in a sealed bag addressed to its recipient.

We would each eat, drink, and even urinate before producing the keys, so neither person would have absolutely any reason to leave the room while the keys existed on the hard drive, which would be just long enough to print them.

On the other hand, if you're afraid of collusion, then not even an EC multiply scheme would help.

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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January 21, 2012, 10:39:16 AM
 #4

Hi casascuis

How small a hologram stick would be possible , I'm guessing 11mm square is too small for purpose?
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January 21, 2012, 01:12:51 PM
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 Please let Casascius or myself know if you are interested  Cheesy

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January 21, 2012, 05:57:37 PM
 #6

Hi casascuis

How small a hologram stick would be possible , I'm guessing 11mm square is too small for purpose?


It is possible to produce 11mm holograms (and you would yield 10000+ stickers per share of the order since it's based on surface area) but they will be too small to make coins.  The private key circle is about 10mm itself, and there needs to be extra room surrounding it so that the hologram can also stick to the coin.

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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January 21, 2012, 07:53:49 PM
 #7

Few questions:

How do you print the (mini) private keys on that little circle? Looks like many were printed on piece of paper, then a hole punch was used. If new coins were purchased, can the indentation be larger, accommodating longer, non-mini keys?

If I bought holograms from this group purchase, how would that prevent someone else from buying the same hologram and produce a duplicate coin? I'd like to guarantee every coin that meets the outside appearance, and at 75c over cost, sounds like it is inviting trouble.


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January 21, 2012, 07:58:10 PM
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We would each eat, drink, and even urinate before producing the keys, so neither person would have absolutely any reason to leave the room while the keys existed on the hard drive, which would be just long enough to print them.
lol

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January 21, 2012, 08:28:21 PM
 #9

Hi casascuis

How small a hologram stick would be possible , I'm guessing 11mm square is too small for purpose?


It is possible to produce 11mm holograms (and you would yield 10000+ stickers per share of the order since it's based on surface area) but they will be too small to make coins.  The private key circle is about 10mm itself, and there needs to be extra room surrounding it so that the hologram can also stick to the coin.

Thanks or the info , I thought it would be to small  Wink
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Charlie 'Van Bitcoin' Shrem


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January 21, 2012, 11:41:53 PM
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We would each eat, drink, and even urinate before producing the keys, so neither person would have absolutely any reason to leave the room while the keys existed on the hard drive, which would be just long enough to print them.

That's like in those movies when a bunch of naked girls in a room counting money with oversight for drug dealers, or weighing weed.

You should film the experience, or take some pics. Very cool to write about, Im sure it'd be picked up.

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January 22, 2012, 01:27:29 AM
 #11

We would each eat, drink, and even urinate before producing the keys, so neither person would have absolutely any reason to leave the room while the keys existed on the hard drive, which would be just long enough to print them.

That's like in those movies when a bunch of naked girls in a room counting money with oversight for drug dealers, or weighing weed.

You should film the experience, or take some pics. Very cool to write about, Im sure it'd be picked up.

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January 22, 2012, 04:06:29 PM
 #12

It is rather easy to generate keys yourself. I could see the benefit in this though as having multiple parties come together to create the coins and certify that the private keys were generated in a secure manner and promptly destroyed.

Have you considered using QR codes in your coins? They can be scannable to quite a small size, and would avoid the typing. This would mean that your codes would be the full private key, and be a little easier for importing.

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