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Author Topic: What do you think about physical paper bitcoins (you can buy them with paypal)  (Read 1189 times)
TheBitMan
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May 30, 2012, 07:58:14 PM
 #1

Right now I am working on http://paperbits.weebly.com/

what do you think about the idea?
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nimda
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May 30, 2012, 08:34:43 PM
 #2

What's a paper bitcoin?

I recommend asking me for a signature from my GPG key before doing a trade. I will NEVER deny such a request.
TheBitMan
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May 30, 2012, 09:03:22 PM
 #3

What's a paper bitcoin?
It's physical it would be like a dollar but it would have a private key on it, you would then go to a site like mt gox enter it and get the btc that way. it's very safe also
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May 30, 2012, 09:07:07 PM
 #4

Seems a bit (heh) unnecessary to me. At the moment, we unfortunately can't go around handing paper BTC to stores. Because of this, a digital-only currency makes sense and is easy to use.

Unless, of course, someone wants them just for their novelty value. Pulling out a wad of bitcoins would feel pretty nice.

If I've helped you or you just feel generous, please consider sending me some BTC! I don't need anything major, but every little bit helps out.
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TheBitMan
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May 30, 2012, 09:13:19 PM
 #5

Seems a bit (heh) unnecessary to me. At the moment, we unfortunately can't go around handing paper BTC to stores. Because of this, a digital-only currency makes sense and is easy to use.

Unless, of course, someone wants them just for their novelty value. Pulling out a wad of bitcoins would feel pretty nice.
It's also for safety, you can hold onto them for years and you don't need to use them until you want
nimda
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May 30, 2012, 09:14:28 PM
 #6

Is the key the key to a bitcoin address or something else? What's to prevent someone from stealing it, taking the coins, and replacing it? What's to prevent someone from spending the bitcoins on it and keeping the paper? Transactions take time. What if I hand a paper with a bitcoin private key on it, they verify that the key corresponds to an address with X amount of money, and then I quickly spend it, since I had the private key earlier?

...Or are they not actually meant to be passed around?

I recommend asking me for a signature from my GPG key before doing a trade. I will NEVER deny such a request.
Kazimir
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May 30, 2012, 09:32:47 PM
 #7

It's also for safety, you can hold onto them for years and you don't need to use them until you want
Right... Exactly how is a paper BTC safer than its digital counterpart? You can't back it up, easily store it on several distant locations, encrypt it, send it to your nephew in Hong Kong, and countless other things that make regular Bitcoins so much more convenient than old fashioned $ bills.

Seriously, a paper bitcoin is worse than a digital one in every possible way.

In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.
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TheBitMan
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May 30, 2012, 09:40:58 PM
 #8

It would be just like BitBills..I could easily put a warning on it that says do not trade
nimda
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May 30, 2012, 09:42:23 PM
 #9

Is the key the key to a bitcoin address or something else?

I recommend asking me for a signature from my GPG key before doing a trade. I will NEVER deny such a request.
TheBitMan
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May 30, 2012, 09:57:13 PM
 #10

Is the key the key to a bitcoin address or something else?
the address
casascius
Mike Caldwell
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May 30, 2012, 09:57:36 PM
 #11

I think the idea would be fantastic if people could just print their own paper bitcoins.

Offering paper bitcoin wallets for sale (I have done it) brings risk upon both parties.  Your buyer risks the chance you'll steal their coins, and you as the seller risk being accused of stealing from your buyer with no way to prove you didn't.

On the other hand, if any standard Bitcoin client could spit Bitcoin "bills" to the printer, that would be taking "be your own bank" to a whole new level.  Forget ATM fees, just print your own cash!

Spending those paper bitcoins would be simple: the store would have a QR code scanner, and would make change by either sending it back to your bill (least secure but most convenient, especially for small amounts), or to a new bill they print on demand (also least secure), or one of your remaining unused bills, by scanning only the bitcoin address (most secure).


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.
nimda
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May 30, 2012, 10:02:32 PM
 #12

1. Send bitcoins to a new address
2. Print the private key
3. Hard-format your HDD and overwrite your RAM
4. Check to see if someone was looking over your shoulder
5. Bury it like a pirate

But spending it is a bad idea. I summed up several ways this could go wrong in a previous post. Even the most secure way (hashing the private key to make sure that it points to the address claimed, then checking the balance of that address) is vulnerable to the customer handing you the bill, waiting for you to check it, then pressing 'Send' on their Android...

I recommend asking me for a signature from my GPG key before doing a trade. I will NEVER deny such a request.
casascius
Mike Caldwell
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May 30, 2012, 10:04:31 PM
 #13

It's also for safety, you can hold onto them for years and you don't need to use them until you want
Right... Exactly how is a paper BTC safer than its digital counterpart? You can't back it up, easily store it on several distant locations, encrypt it, send it to your nephew in Hong Kong, and countless other things that make regular Bitcoins so much more convenient than old fashioned $ bills.

Seriously, a paper bitcoin is worse than a digital one in every possible way.

Not sure I agree.  A paper BTC can be stuck in a safe or safety deposit box, can't be hacked, can be backed up via photocopy.  Among people who trust one another, it can be handed face-to-face like cash.  It can be read over the telephone.  And between parties where trust is reduced (e.g. a retail store or vending scenario), the recipient can instantly capture the funds off the paper BTC upon presentation.

If you die, your family is more likely to figure out what to do with a piece of paper than a USB stick, due to the reduced complexity involved in figuring out what it is.

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.
casascius
Mike Caldwell
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May 30, 2012, 10:06:47 PM
 #14

1. Send bitcoins to a new address
2. Print the private key
3. Hard-format your HDD and overwrite your RAM
4. Check to see if someone was looking over your shoulder
5. Bury it like a pirate

But spending it is a bad idea. I summed up several ways this could go wrong in a previous post. Even the most secure way (hashing the private key to make sure that it points to the address claimed, then checking the balance of that address) is vulnerable to the customer handing you the bill, waiting for you to check it, then pressing 'Send' on their Android...


If you print your bills in small enough denominations then the most someone can do is rip you off for the value of one bill, the same way they could take cash out of your hand and run away with it.  When the value of each bill is small enough, the incentive to try it is small and most people won't bother, any more than they would bother now to take cash tips from a restaurant table.

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.
nimda
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May 30, 2012, 10:09:12 PM
 #15

Nope... blockchain.info allows sending from multiple addresses in one transaction.
Even if that weren't true, you're basically saying that these paper bills will only be involved in small real-world transactions, rendering them less convenient than paper one-dollar bills...

I recommend asking me for a signature from my GPG key before doing a trade. I will NEVER deny such a request.
TheBitMan
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May 30, 2012, 10:15:03 PM
 #16

I could let people print them.. good idea
casascius
Mike Caldwell
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May 30, 2012, 10:16:21 PM
 #17

Nope... blockchain.info allows sending from multiple addresses in one transaction.

Nope...is in response to what?

Even if that weren't true, you're basically saying that these paper bills will only be involved in small real-world transactions, rendering them less convenient than paper one-dollar bills...

Why is that less convenient?  I think it's more convenient to print my own money given the choice than to drive to an ATM and pay $5 in fees to withdraw it, but to each their own.

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.
casascius
Mike Caldwell
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May 30, 2012, 10:16:59 PM
 #18

I could let people print them.. good idea

First, this idea, and then, the website http://bitaddress.org was born.

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.
Kazimir
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May 30, 2012, 10:19:37 PM
 #19

Not sure I agree.  A paper BTC can be stuck in a safe or safety deposit box,
Same for USB stick.
Furthermore, you'd physically have to take the paper to the safe. Whereas I can upload my backup to any server in the world from the comfort of my chair.
More importantly: I can backup my digital wallet automatically.

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can't be hacked
"hacking" a safe or deposit box is much, MUCH easier than hacking a USB stick with an encrypted wallet.

Quote
can be backed up via photocopy.
So how is that easier than copying your wallet file? Digital files are copied faster, cheaper, easier. And it's eco-friendly.

Quote
Among people who trust one another, it can be handed face-to-face like cash.
Same for USB (or email, or any kind of electronic communication which is, again faster, cheaper and easier).

Quote
It can be read over the telephone.
Probability of making at least one typo when reading out loud a 54-digit MiXeD CaSe alphanumeric code: approximately 100%

Quote
And between parties where trust is reduced (e.g. a retail store or vending scenario), the recipient can instantly capture the funds off the paper BTC upon presentation.
Uh, no, he can't. He has to enter the key first (again, very high chance of typo's) only to perform an online process that was intended to be entirely digital in the first place.

Quote
If you die, your family is more likely to figure out what to do with a piece of paper than a USB stick, due to the reduced complexity involved in figuring out what it is.
I seriously doubt that. Converting paper BTC to cash involves several additional steps, compared to converting regular BTC to cash.

In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.
Insert coin(s): 1KazimirL9MNcnFnoosGrEkmMsbYLxPPob
casascius
Mike Caldwell
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May 30, 2012, 10:32:27 PM
 #20

Not sure I agree.  A paper BTC can be stuck in a safe or safety deposit box,
Same for USB stick.
Furthermore, you'd physically have to take the paper to the safe. Whereas I can upload my backup to any server in the world from the comfort of my chair.
More importantly: I can backup my digital wallet automatically.

You indeed can, but that doesn't make a paper wallet worthless.

Quote
can't be hacked
"hacking" a safe or deposit box is much, MUCH easier than hacking a USB stick with an encrypted wallet.

apples and oranges... hacking a safe requires physical access, greatly narrowing the pool of potential attackers.  More humans are familiar with securing physical objects with physical security versus digital files with encryption, so putting bitcoins in non-electronic form makes them useful to more human earthlings than would be if they were strictly digital.

Quote
can be backed up via photocopy.
So how is that easier than copying your wallet file? Digital files are copied faster, cheaper, easier. And it's eco-friendly.

More people are able to operate a photocopier and confirm to their own satisfaction that the copy was successful as compared to copying digital files... remember, not everyone is as much a genius as you

Quote
Among people who trust one another, it can be handed face-to-face like cash.
Same for USB (or email, or any kind of electronic communication which is, again faster, cheaper and easier).
Of course, assuming both of them understand what's on the stick... more human brains are compatible with paper than USB sticks.

Quote
It can be read over the telephone.
Probability of making at least one typo when reading out loud a 54-digit MiXeD CaSe alphanumeric code: approximately 100%

The point is that it can be done.  Odds that the typo will be detected and rejected by the system: 1-2^-32

Quote
And between parties where trust is reduced (e.g. a retail store or vending scenario), the recipient can instantly capture the funds off the paper BTC upon presentation.
Uh, no, he can't. He has to enter the key first (again, very high chance of typo's) only to perform an online process that was intended to be entirely digital in the first place.

Enter USB QR scanner, a neat product available from numerous vendors now.  Emulates a USB keyboard.

Quote
If you die, your family is more likely to figure out what to do with a piece of paper than a USB stick, due to the reduced complexity involved in figuring out what it is.
I seriously doubt that. Converting paper BTC to cash involves several additional steps, compared to converting regular BTC to cash.

Converting any BTC to cash requires them finding a buyer.  If your family is all computer geniuses, then by all means, use a USB stick.  I am not so lucky, and see value in the chance they'd recognize a piece of paper as valuable that said "This barcode is worth xxxx BTC, go to this URL to verify the value", rather than a USB stick that - unless you labeled it - would look like every other worthless USB stick on planet earth.

In summary, yes, you are right, backups of wallet files on removable media are very valuable.  I'm not looking to argue that digital files are not valuable, I am simply refuting your earlier claim that paper ones are worthless in every way.

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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