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Question: Would you use a bitcoin-redeemable physical currency?
Probably - 33 (37.1%)
Probably not - 27 (30.3%)
Depends on the implementation - 29 (32.6%)
Total Voters: 89

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Author Topic: Physical bitcoins, take 4  (Read 9825 times)
silvercardbank
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April 20, 2011, 10:07:48 AM
 #21

a physical coin is needed as a stepping stone or bridge to bring regular folks over to bitcoin.

We don't need to bring "regular folks" to the network.  Screw them.

Bitcoin can be a perfectly valid currency without being accepted by the average Joe.   As long as we have efficient market exchanges, we don't need everyone to even know about bitcoins.

Bitcoin is not a religion nor a political movement.  We don't have to care if people don't like it.


I agree you don't need regular folks for a valid or successful network...regular folk need bitcoin !

An efficient market exchange will only be successful if it is useful, and the more people involved wanting to exchange the more useful it becomes to those people,and therefore the stronger the value..
   After all, market exchanges are all about speculation, betting on the rise or fall in those values and competing against other markets.
like it or not governments will get involved,labeling you a terrorist movement, tax evaders and criminals then you've become a political movement.

 If regular Joe is not educated you will care if bitcoin is portrayed in this way, an evil anarchist religion,  against his county and the so called freedom that he works hard for by paying taxes that fund the wars that are against his religion.

 So i believe we should care if people don,t like it .

 If we are to screw anyone, it should be the current system and those who control it ! 

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Bruce Wagner
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April 20, 2011, 11:39:26 AM
 #22

Yes.  Exactly.  We care VERY much that Bitcoin become accepted, understood, and used... by the average Joe.   ....AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

In the end, its common usage by everyone may be the only thing that saves it... from big governments and the big banks that own them.

http://www.documentsecurity.com/sp_documents.php

Here's what I'm thinking..... for a paper currency...
Printed on it could be.... what?
Besides a Bitcoin denomination --- like BTC 1, BTC 5, BTC 10, BTC 20, BTC 100.
A verifiable public key & owner.... so that anyone could verify that this key was still owned by this owner.... as long as this paper was in circulation ...?

To help prevent counterfeiting, there could be a predetermined expiration date... by which time it must be redeemed...?  At that time, old bills could be replaced with the
newest bills, with improved anti-counterfeiting features.

Obviously, real Bitcoin is superior to anything paper...  However ...

Paper Bitcoin is just a stepping stone for ordinary people to play with, handle, look at, and even shop with... on a small scale.  

Ian Maxwell
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April 20, 2011, 12:17:30 PM
 #23

Features I had considered printing on notes, besides denomination:

  • a unique public key that can be verified to hold the amount on the note;
  • enough contractual language to make the note a binding promise;
  • a line/box on the reverse to actually write in an address you would like the note paid to, like depositing a check.

For a moment I got really fancy and considered having postage pre-paid so you could just drop the whole shebang in the mail, but I don't really think sending cash naked via USPS is a great idea, and I don't want to encourage it.

An expiration date was one of my suggestions earlier. It would be good for security, as you said, and the issuer could forego a minting/printing fee in hopes of turning a profit on unredeemed notes. But first of all it would be easy to pass off expired or nearly-expired notes to someone who wasn't looking too closely, and secondly I just don't like the smell of it. Stockpiling cash should be a feasible method of saving money.

What to do about small denominations (like less than one bitcoin)? There's no theoretical barrier to having a 0.05-bitcoin paper note, but it seems unusual. The terrible part is that hard tokens will cost more to produce, but it's the smaller denominations they'd be wanted for. No one will pay 0.55 for a 0.05 coin. Maybe cash could be sold in fixed bundles that include some number of "coins", and enough paper notes to offset the cost?

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FatherMcGruder
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April 20, 2011, 12:34:57 PM
 #24

I still like the idea of using invisible ink notes. The issuer would have a public key and private key on every note. The public key would be visible but the private key would be invisible. You'd have to void the note to reveal the private key.

I'd prefer that the notes have expiration dates. It would help to prevent counterfeiting.

I'd trust the issuer most if it was a non-profit mutual bank or something similar.

Use my Trade Hill referral code: TH-R11519

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marcus_of_augustus
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April 20, 2011, 12:53:23 PM
 #25

Yes.  Exactly.  We care VERY much that Bitcoin become accepted, understood, and used... by the average Joe.   ....AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

In the end, its common usage by everyone may be the only thing that saves it... from big governments and the big banks that own them.

http://www.documentsecurity.com/sp_documents.php

Here's what I'm thinking..... for a paper currency...
Printed on it could be.... what?
Besides a Bitcoin denomination --- like BTC 1, BTC 5, BTC 10, BTC 20, BTC 100.
A verifiable public key & owner.... so that anyone could verify that this key was still owned by this owner.... as long as this paper was in circulation ...?

To help prevent counterfeiting, there could be a predetermined expiration date... by which time it must be redeemed...?  At that time, old bills could be replaced with the
newest bills, with improved anti-counterfeiting features.

Obviously, real Bitcoin is superior to anything paper...  However ...

Paper Bitcoin is just a stepping stone for ordinary people to play with, handle, look at, and even shop with... on a small scale.  



Bruce, what you describe, with bills of credit expiring after a set date are very, very similar to an old concept known as "real bills" or "real bills of exchange", scroogle that ... and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_bills_doctrine
They were common when the gold standard was widespread and met there end around the same time the Federal Reserve system of banks was established. They worked well for many years before the centralised, mildly inflationary disease took over the minds of the intellectuals.

This may help in your thinking for the details of how your bills would work ... it may have all been done before already for you.

elggawf
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April 20, 2011, 03:42:36 PM
 #26

Isn't minting a physical currency what got liberty gold or whatever in trouble in the first place?

We don't need to bring "regular folks" to the network.  Screw them.

I'm inclined to agree, but with some caveats. Obviously, the more people using BTC the better - but I don't think that should come at the expense of jumping through hoops doing things like printing notes just to make them more comfortable with it (particularly if, like my assumption above, it opens the system up to action by governments).

The fractional reserve idea, the central-issuer idea, isn't that what people interested in BTC are trying to move away from?

^_^
FatherMcGruder
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April 20, 2011, 04:06:31 PM
 #27

The fractional reserve idea, the central-issuer idea, isn't that what people interested in BTC are trying to move away from?
Because of Bitcoin's technology, you can expect greater transparency from a bitcoin note issuer than you can from an issuer of notes that represent anything else. There's no block chain for gold.

Use my Trade Hill referral code: TH-R11519

Check out bitcoinity.org and Ripple.

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Ian Maxwell
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April 20, 2011, 04:49:11 PM
 #28

moa, I followed your link and read, but I don't see the connection to what we're talking about. The real bill doctrine seems to be that, if a note is in principle payable on demand, then its issuer can issue as many notes as it wants as long as those notes are balanced by assets accrued.

An example would be if Big Bank Inc. promised to redeem its notes in bitcoin, and perhaps even kept some bitcoins on hand for redemption purposes, but also disbursed loans in note form without holding enough bitcoins to cover them. The bank would then book the loan itself as an asset. In case of a run, the bank would either call in accounts early, liquidate assets, or borrow against its accounts receivable.

This system works, sort of, but becomes unstable when the note/reserve ratio grows too high. The danger is simply that assets can be lost, particularly assets that are only accrued and not yet received. In the above example, some debtors will default and their loans will be written off, reducing the bank's assets while leaving its liabilities untouched. Charging interest on loans provides some protection against this, but given enough time the bank is quite likely to have a long run of bad luck and become insolvent.

Anyway, that's not the sort of thing I was planning. I'm interested in a 100% reserve kept safe by multiple offsite backups and strong encryption---the most mucking about I'd allow for is a sort of very short-term bond system wherein the bank might issue notes payable at the end of the month, and secure the bitcoins before then, in the interest of fixing very short-term liquidity problems. As long as this was stated up front on the notes I don't think it would be a serious problem.

As for expiration dates, you people are far more accepting of the idea than I would have guessed. Of course they'd have to be both prominently written and easy to predict---perhaps notes could be released in batches that expire at the end of a calendar year, with "VOID AFTER DECEMBER 2013" written in large print on the reverse. The revenue from unredeemed notes would easily make up the printing costs--if we assume each note costs 0.1 BTC to print, a single unredeemed 50 BTC note would cover the cost of 500 notes printed. Given the amount of cash destroyed in every year, not to mention the number of people who can't manage to mail in a $100 rebate form, issuing cash could be very profitable indeed.

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FatherMcGruder
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April 20, 2011, 05:22:14 PM
 #29

As for expiration dates, you people are far more accepting of the idea than I would have guessed. Of course they'd have to be both prominently written and easy to predict---perhaps notes could be released in batches that expire at the end of a calendar year, with "VOID AFTER DECEMBER 2013" written in large print on the reverse. The revenue from unredeemed notes would easily make up the printing costs--if we assume each note costs 0.1 BTC to print, a single unredeemed 50 BTC note would cover the cost of 500 notes printed. Given the amount of cash destroyed in every year, not to mention the number of people who can't manage to mail in a $100 rebate form, issuing cash could be very profitable indeed.
I'm comfortable with expiration dates as long as I don't have to even contact the issuer to redeem the note. That's why I like having a private key hidden on each note and I'd have to void the note to read it.

Use my Trade Hill referral code: TH-R11519

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steelhouse
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April 20, 2011, 05:51:19 PM
 #30

a physical coin is needed as a stepping stone or bridge to bring regular folks over to bitcoin.
a silver coin is the best possible way of doing this that has no dollar amount marked on it and should look exactly like the bit coin logo .
being 99.9 % fine silver of a certain weight could be exchanged at the market rate against any currency including bit coin and could not be counterfeit.
They would be valuable in there own right and a useful tool in marketing & advertizing to friends.
not necessarily designed to be spent in stores for coffee and the like, but definitely exchangeable and liquid enough to change into cash at any coin shop or pawn dealer..
i know that i for one would spend my electronic bit coin to buy them for investment purposes and as a second option of storing  my accumulated digital value.
silver minted coins always command a higher price than the spot or melt value and thats how the mint makes its profit. putting labor into raw silver and making a finished product.
we already have enough paper to trade, so use that to turn attention to bitcoin it,s quite simple.
instead of stamping www.bear-river-dollar.com right across it in red ink ,you stamp the bit coin website.
every time you spend cash you tell people about it.
when the bitcoin community has accumulated enough silver between them, we will be in a position to issue our own bitcoin plastic instead of mastercards and visas, as mastercard and visa will be wanting to rent your technology and not you renting theirs at point of sale.
only discovered bitcoin this week and putting links down here  www.bear-river-dollar.com

I think you will discover the difference between commodities and currency.  BTC could crash at any time.  Silver will always be silver.  I think the 1 oz round is the official currency of the silver currency.   From that 1 oz you can convert to BTC at any time.  So you could make a 1 oz round with the bitcoin symbol, but instead of calling it 1 BTC, or 40 BTC, you call it 1 troy ounce.  Thus, there are no links and you could still trade the silver as silver.  However, you could make your own symbol if you like.
tomcollins
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April 20, 2011, 05:55:02 PM
 #31

a physical coin is needed as a stepping stone or bridge to bring regular folks over to bitcoin.
a silver coin is the best possible way of doing this that has no dollar amount marked on it and should look exactly like the bit coin logo .
being 99.9 % fine silver of a certain weight could be exchanged at the market rate against any currency including bit coin and could not be counterfeit.
They would be valuable in there own right and a useful tool in marketing & advertizing to friends.
not necessarily designed to be spent in stores for coffee and the like, but definitely exchangeable and liquid enough to change into cash at any coin shop or pawn dealer..
i know that i for one would spend my electronic bit coin to buy them for investment purposes and as a second option of storing  my accumulated digital value.
silver minted coins always command a higher price than the spot or melt value and thats how the mint makes its profit. putting labor into raw silver and making a finished product.
we already have enough paper to trade, so use that to turn attention to bitcoin it,s quite simple.
instead of stamping www.bear-river-dollar.com right across it in red ink ,you stamp the bit coin website.
every time you spend cash you tell people about it.
when the bitcoin community has accumulated enough silver between them, we will be in a position to issue our own bitcoin plastic instead of mastercards and visas, as mastercard and visa will be wanting to rent your technology and not you renting theirs at point of sale.
only discovered bitcoin this week and putting links down here  www.bear-river-dollar.com

I think you will discover the difference between commodities and currency.  BTC could crash at any time.  Silver will always be silver.  I think the 1 oz round is the official currency of the silver currency.   From that 1 oz you can convert to BTC at any time.  So you could make a 1 oz round with the bitcoin symbol, but instead of calling it 1 BTC, or 40 BTC, you call it 1 troy ounce.  Thus, there are no links and you could still trade the silver as silver.  However, you could make your own symbol if you like.

What's the point of putting 40 BTC on it?  Who will accept the coin and give you 40 BTC if 40 BTC is worth more?  Who will use the coin if it is worth more than 40 BTC? 
steelhouse
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April 20, 2011, 06:00:52 PM
 #32


What's the point of putting 40 BTC on it?  Who will accept the coin and give you 40 BTC if 40 BTC is worth more?  Who will use the coin if it is worth more than 40 BTC?  

I say don't put 40 BTC on it, put 1 Troy Oz on it.  Silver should be its own currency in itself, with troy oz being the unit of exchange.   There never would have been the great depression if everyone used physical silver instead of using silver backed notes.  So you have 2 currencies, not competing currencies, operating at the same time.
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April 20, 2011, 07:10:32 PM
 #33

To get paper currency from bitcoin, very simple method i believe is to have a software, which prints your SENDER address & amount in paper & give it to RECEIVER.
For acknowledgement, the receiver gives a print out with his received address & amount.
That software must be able to run on a very small device like cellphone.
The printer is debit/credit card receipt printer or even smaller one.

Another way , a software for cellphone which send the sender address & amount to any other(Receiver) cellphone number through SMS.
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April 20, 2011, 07:43:27 PM
 #34

I somehow don't expect that a bitcoin-backed paper currency (even if 100% backed) will ever succeed.

However, I'll give it a go.  Let's start with one-time paper currency.  i.e. it is issued by some "bank" and, at it's first use, the paper is destroyed and the value it represents is received by the seller of goods.

First, we'll need some widespread smart-phone software which can recognise those two-dimensional barcodes (what are they called - QR codes, right?).  Next we'll need some double-layered paper, with the top layer being transparent.  Now, you send some bitcoins to a bitcoin address.  The private key, as a QR code, is printed on the lower layer of paper.  The address, also a QR code  (but a special one), is printed on the upper layer, directly on top of the lower QR code, but here's the cute bit: you're actually seeing a mix of both QR codes together.  So what you need, is that both QR codes, seen together, represent the public bitcoin address, but you can't tell which part of the pattern belongs to the which QR code.  You scan this with your smartphone, your smartphone checks out the bitcoin block explorer and verifies the value at that address.  You accept the paper as payment, tear off the top layer, scan in the private key and immediately transfer the bitcoins to your address.

Of course, as long as people are willing to trust that the issuing bank has either deleted all the private keys in these paper notes, or will not sneakily transfer the bitcoins out, then there's no actual need to tear off the top layer, and so, the note can be re-used.

Any good?
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April 20, 2011, 07:51:34 PM
 #35

I somehow don't expect that a bitcoin-backed paper currency (even if 100% backed) will ever succeed.

However, I'll give it a go.  Let's start with one-time paper currency.  i.e. it is issued by some "bank" and, at it's first use, the paper is destroyed and the value it represents is received by the seller of goods.

First, we'll need some widespread smart-phone software which can recognise those two-dimensional barcodes (what are they called - QR codes, right?).  Next we'll need some double-layered paper, with the top layer being transparent.  Now, you send some bitcoins to a bitcoin address.  The private key, as a QR code, is printed on the lower layer of paper.  The address, also a QR code  (but a special one), is printed on the upper layer, directly on top of the lower QR code, but here's the cute bit: you're actually seeing a mix of both QR codes together.  So what you need, is that both QR codes, seen together, represent the public bitcoin address, but you can't tell which part of the pattern belongs to the which QR code.  You scan this with your smartphone, your smartphone checks out the bitcoin block explorer and verifies the value at that address.  You accept the paper as payment, tear off the top layer, scan in the private key and immediately transfer the bitcoins to your address.

Of course, as long as people are willing to trust that the issuing bank has either deleted all the private keys in these paper notes, or will not sneakily transfer the bitcoins out, then there's no actual need to tear off the top layer, and so, the note can be re-used.

Any good?
I had thought of notes that one could peel to reveal a private key and while also voiding the bill, kind of like those stickers on PlayStation 2's. But they require glue which one can defeat with heat. Now, if the note was designed such that one would have to tear it to redeem it, that would be the best way to go.

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April 20, 2011, 09:15:57 PM
 #36

Suppose there is a 100,000 bills backed by 100,000 there is no real way to verify the bitcoin and who owns them, thus you would be taking the banks word that the bitcoin backs the currency.

If the serial number on the paper is a public key then any client can verify that real bitcoins back up the paper. The key would have to own exactly the stated amount on the paper.

Any holder of paper can go back to the issuing institution and "transfer" the value to a new piece of paper with a new key on it. The holder can verify that the transaction went through on the real bitcoin side. This action would render any "duplicate" pieces of paper useless because if they now check their keys there is no value behind them. It would take a real juggling act for the issuing institution to keep any fraud from showing.

It wouldn't take too many people regularly checking their paper bitcoin to ensure the issuing institution is backing the paper with 100% real bitcoin.
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April 20, 2011, 09:22:32 PM
 #37



This thread makes me realize how hard it is to understand that something is impossible.

To understand that something is possible, basically all you need is to imagine how it can be done.

But to understand that something is impossible, you need some deep understanding of the whole thing you are considering, and basically what you need is some kind of a mathematical proof.


That why I predict we'll always have people trying to design some physical instance of a bitcoin.
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April 20, 2011, 09:54:32 PM
 #38

whatever you do Paper metal or digital your in for a bumpy ride as this is what all will be up against.

“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Tompkins said in announcing the verdict. “While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,” she added. “We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”

 The way to make anything possible is to have 100% backing of the people. !

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April 20, 2011, 09:57:26 PM
 #39

Is there really an invisible ink that lasts forever (or for years at least) and absolutely cannot be revealed by any method that doesn't render it permanently visible? If so, I suppose that works. The issuer wouldn't even need to retain his own ability to access deposits, if he was willing to let some bitcoins be potentially lost forever. If not, then the idea doesn't work, no matter how cool it would be.

I'm wary of any attempt to make notes self-redeeming, because it is basically DRM---you are giving out the keys to the vault in an obscured form, so that people can only use them in the way you would like. We all know how well this has worked for software and movies. I'm smart enough to know I'm not the smartest man on the planet---and whatever scheme I come up with for hiding private keys, one of those smarter men will find a way to reveal them without voiding the note. If he's smart enough to keep his mouth shut, he could do this for years before anyone even notices there's a problem. It would be negligent of me as a guardian of deposits to leave them vulnerable like that.

Anyway, here's a proposal: If I attend the upcoming conference, I can design and print some notes for use there. No expensive high-security mechanisms, unless someone else wants to foot the bill---copy-proof paper and my personal signature will suffice. I'll keep the design secret until the conference itself, and require redemption within a week or two, so there's no opportunity to counterfeit. The idea will be to use them at the conference itself and cash in before leaving, with a short grace period in case you forget. I'll eat the cost of printing---consider it market research.

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April 20, 2011, 10:43:27 PM
 #40

@SunAvatar, I like you....   You have an uncommon amount of common sense. 

I've been told, just today, of the details of another project that I've been asked to keep quiet for now.     But I can tell you....  Lots of exciting projects are popping up like weeds!   Great new products, apps, and services are coming out of the woodwork!

Also...   I contacted the number one security paper manufacturing company in the US this morning.   The guy already knew all about Bitcoin... and is very enthusiastic about helping us with this project!   

He is Fedex-ing samples to me which I'll have by tomorrow morning. 

After TIT (thinking it through) more...   I believe that such a paper currency would PRIMARILY be used as a novel way to introduce new people to Bitcoin. 

Sort of like handing out business cards that have inherent value.

I'll keep you all informed here in this thread... and on the new weekly "The Bitcoin Show" on http://OnlyOneTV.com

But I'm beginning to think that we might have (at LEAST one) "working version" of the Paper Bitcoin in time for the Bitcoin Conference & World Expo in NYC. 
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