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Author Topic: Uptick in sales of Casascius Coins  (Read 4110 times)
Realpra
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June 28, 2012, 08:47:12 PM
 #41

@ Casascius:

1. Do you sell blank stickers and/or coins separately?
2. Any plans for a 0.5 BTC coin (since rate is going up and 1BTC might be too much for some purchases).
3. Any plans for cheap plastic coins or bills with holo-stickers for mass-issuing/cheaper postal fee?
4. Could you allow outside inspectors to see the production process or in other ways improve the trust that you will not one day run off with all the coin charges?
5. Are you talking to any communities looking to use your products as a "local" currency? (or planning similar "stunts")
6. Do you still work on non-coin POS systems?

(by inspectors I mean like visitors from this forum in your area for instance)

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June 28, 2012, 09:16:08 PM
 #42

@ Casascius:

1. Do you sell blank stickers and/or coins separately?
2. Any plans for a 0.5 BTC coin (since rate is going up and 1BTC might be too much for some purchases).
3. Any plans for cheap plastic coins or bills with holo-stickers for mass-issuing/cheaper postal fee?
4. Could you allow outside inspectors to see the production process or in other ways improve the trust that you will not one day run off with all the coin charges?
5. Are you talking to any communities looking to use your products as a "local" currency? (or planning similar "stunts")
6. Do you still work on non-coin POS systems?

(by inspectors I mean like visitors from this forum in your area for instance)

1. Yes, but only as "roll your owns".  I do not sell my holograms separately.
2. Not at this time. (My current premium is 0.31 BTC... a 0.50 BTC coin for 0.81 BTC is more than 60% premium!)  It might make sense as a roll-your-own, but for me to decide on a new coin requires a substantial investment, not too many people will be excited about this.  Maybe later as BTC appreciates.
3. Others have gone down this road.  I probably won't.
4. When people say it's impossible to prove, they're right.  If I did a new batch from scratch and someone nanny-sitted me all the way from key generation until complete production, I suppose it's possible.  But nobody would be happy about paying even more to include the cost of that person, who could be cooperating dishonestly in a scam for all they know.  In fact, a 2-key scheme is possible today, where 2 people are responsible for providing 2 halves of a key... but nobody wants to pay double the premium.  The best control to ensure I don't do that is one based on recourse rather than somehow watching me every second to make sure I didn't copy something I shouldn't.
5. No, not really.
6. Only in the context of programming them as time-and-attendance terminals for the time being.

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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June 29, 2012, 10:52:13 AM
 #43

4. When people say it's impossible to prove, they're right.  If I did a new batch from scratch and someone nanny-sitted me all the way from key generation until complete production, I suppose it's possible.  But nobody would be happy about paying even more to include the cost of that person, who could be cooperating dishonestly in a scam for all they know.  In fact, a 2-key scheme is possible today, where 2 people are responsible for providing 2 halves of a key... but nobody wants to pay double the premium.  The best control to ensure I don't do that is one based on recourse rather than somehow watching me every second to make sure I didn't copy something I shouldn't.

My worry, long-term, for physical bitcoin coins is this:

Some dodgy geezer buys 1 Casascius coin.  He is capable of perfectly duplicating the metal and hologram.  He cracks open that one coin and copies the private key (or not, it actually doesn't matter much for the scam), then reproduces that one coin and its address on a thousand coins.

The receivers of those scam coins can go to your website and check that their coins are genuine Casascius, and provided none of them ever crack open their coin, none will ever know the truth -- they are actually all sharing ownership of 1 BTC.

I've bought a couple of Casascius coins and they're lovely; it's a shame then that I can't think of a way in which they can be trusted.  Even though you are without doubt above reproach, your good name can be used to make counterfeits easily.

Perhaps people are never intending to use them as means of exchange, and just keep them for novelty value (I know that's why I got mine).

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June 29, 2012, 11:04:33 AM
 #44

Oh well, since I read this thread I increased the prices for the ones I'm selling on Bitmit. Sorry  Wink
http://www.bitmit.net/en/shop/c/23-money/5-bitcoin

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June 29, 2012, 11:21:24 AM
 #45

Perhaps people are never intending to use them as means of exchange, and just keep them for novelty value (I know that's why I got mine).
I think it would be cool if we could though.

Maybe a "central bank" would need to roll and issue their own coins for each local community or just back paper with BTC.

How it was done with gold back in the day.

Then again there might be even less trust in a group of people.

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June 29, 2012, 02:30:21 PM
 #46



Some dodgy geezer buys 1 Casascius coin.  He is capable of perfectly duplicating the metal and hologram.  He cracks open that one coin and copies the private key (or not, it actually doesn't matter much for the scam), then reproduces that one coin and its address on a thousand coins.

The receivers of those scam coins can go to your website and check that their coins are genuine Casascius, and provided none of them ever crack open their coin, none will ever know the truth -- they are actually all sharing ownership of 1 BTC.

All of this is certainly possible in theory (just like counterfeiting a dollar) but so far, nobody has bothered to go to the effort just to scoop up the $1+ per coin I charge as a markup as a legitimate competitor, let alone go to the same length to perpetrate some fraud. If I can't beg people to realize that they could be making a dollar just to stick a sticker on a coin, why would they go to fifty times the effort for only 6.5 times the gain by going the fraud route?

Anyone investing thousands of dollars in counterfeit holograms runs the risk that the scam will be found out before he is even able to recoup his investment, as someone will surely find some subtle difference in the hologram that can be used to identify and avoid the scam coins. Such a scam just doesn't make good business sense, it makes far more sense to compete and make legit coins.

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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June 29, 2012, 03:34:46 PM
 #47

All of this is certainly possible in theory (just like counterfeiting a dollar) but so far, nobody has bothered to go to the effort just to scoop up the $1+ per coin I charge as a markup as a legitimate competitor, let alone go to the same length to perpetrate some fraud. If I can't beg people to realize that they could be making a dollar just to stick a sticker on a coin, why would they go to fifty times the effort for only 6.5 times the gain by going the fraud route?

Why is it 50 times the effort?  The effort to make one coin is the same for you and the scammer.

Let's assume your markup is entirely costs, that you make no profit at all.  It costs you .31 BTC to make the coin, and 5BTC to populate it.  It costs me .31BTC to make the coin and zero to populate it because I'm using the same 5 BTC over and over, and you supplied that too.

It must be possible to make them for .31BTC, because you're already doing it.  Every coin I counterfeit therefore earns me 4.69 BTC.  Every coin you make makes you zero (assuming a .31BTC cost of manufacture).

What if I go again but make fake 25 BTC coins?

Anyone investing thousands of dollars in counterfeit holograms runs the risk that the scam will be found out before he is even able to recoup his investment, as someone will surely find some subtle difference in the hologram that can be used to identify and avoid the scam coins. Such a scam just doesn't make good business sense, it makes far more sense to compete and make legit coins.

I don't see why it's not good business sense (assuming morality isn't a factor).  Something that costs you 5.31 BTC to make, costs the scammer .31 BTC to make.

It's no different from normal counterfeiting of course; people already make fake $20 notes.  The difference here -- and is why I'm raising it -- is that your website supplying a list of valid keys gives the fake coins an air of legitimacy.  It's using your good name to steal from people.

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June 29, 2012, 04:16:40 PM
 #48

Why is it 50 times the effort?  The effort to make one coin is the same for you and the scammer.

Factor in the detailed and precise effort of counterfeiting the actual hologram.  Imagine you have a hologram maker willing to be complicit.  It's not like you can just scan the hologram into photoshop and hit print.  There are three-dimensional details that have to be reproduced.  Imagine you get even one minor thing wrong, or don't reproduce one of the deliberately placed mistakes in my hologram.  All someone has to do is say "look on the XYZ side and if there isn't an ABC, it's a fake".  What are you going to do then?

Realistically, these aren't getting traded around like quarters and dollars in commerce, they are being collected as collector's items and passed out to promote Bitcoin.  I don't believe that will ever change, and the high premium cost is what will keep that in check.  When trading Bitcoins face-to-face becomes popular, my vision is that people will not trade Casascius coins, but will "be their own bank" and print their own Bitcoin cash at home (File -> Print -> Print Money) instead of paying ATM fees, and people will accept printed Bitcoin bills sort of the same way the supermarket accepts home-printed coupons: by immediately scanning their QR codes, and in the case of Bitcoin, sweeping the funds in real time.  After use, the printed bills are thrown away (or optionally reused if needed to give back change).  The possibility of fake or duplicate or counterfeit bills will be completely controlled by the fact that the recipient who scans the bill will know within seconds or minutes whether the money was good - bills will only be accepted blindly (unscanned) from parties where great trust/recourse is present.

Let's assume your markup is entirely costs, that you make no profit at all.  It costs you .31 BTC to make the coin, and 5BTC to populate it.  It costs me .31BTC to make the coin and zero to populate it because I'm using the same 5 BTC over and over, and you supplied that too.

It must be possible to make them for .31BTC, because you're already doing it.  Every coin I counterfeit therefore earns me 4.69 BTC.  Every coin you make makes you zero (assuming a .31BTC cost of manufacture).

How long are you going to be able to sell it before people wise up and realize they need to up their vigilance a notch?  Where are you going to sell it where you don't risk chargeback / recourse / getting your ass kicked?  And when people realize you're up to no good, will you have scammed enough people 4.69 BTC at a time to pay for the $thousands you invested in your fake holograms that you can't move anymore now that people know your scam?

What if I go again but make fake 25 BTC coins?

You could, but those sell far slower than 1BTC coins.  The economics are about the same - you'll net 5x as much from each customer you scam, but you'll sell way less than 1/5 as many, and will probably net the same profit before you're found out: likely not enough to cover your initial cost.

I don't see why it's not good business sense (assuming morality isn't a factor).  Something that costs you 5.31 BTC to make, costs the scammer .31 BTC to make.

Because before you can make the first counterfeit coin, you have to invest thousands of dollars in the production of holograms.  Producing holograms is very front-heavy on costs.  They are cheap to run in quantity, but expensive to set up the design.


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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June 29, 2012, 05:11:37 PM
 #49

1. Yes, but only as "roll your owns".  I do not sell my holograms separately.
I could not see the roll-your own offer on your website?

Only the destroyed coins and if you get 5+ you get some roll-your-owns.

Also you need more pictures on your site, like one for each offer Wink


As to the counterfeiting it doesn't bother me much. The cost of faking them doesn't seem worth it. It would probably be easier to design a prettier coin and compete with casascius than replicating his perfectly.

Even if used for general circulation they seem as safe as most cash.

Even if you faked them you would have to provide a loaded address, which people could check = everything fails when people notice money is moving in and out of that address. (make that SAFER than most cash).

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June 29, 2012, 06:50:42 PM
 #50

1. Yes, but only as "roll your owns".  I do not sell my holograms separately.
I could not see the roll-your own offer on your website?

Only the destroyed coins and if you get 5+ you get some roll-your-owns.

That's the correct item.

When you order those, you'll get a printed disc with the firstbit public key printed on one side and the private key on the obverse, in addition to round gold stickers to secure them against the coin. The small disc is placed against the coin (there's a circular impression that makes it easy to do so), and the supplied gold sticker is attached on top of that, forming a covering layer. It works just like the hologram in that you peel the sticker off to gain access to the private key, only you can't see the public address through the sticker.

You would use the public address to load Bitcoin value before applying the sticker, of course. Then it's a nice piece to give as a gift, although the hologram definitely makes a bigger impact.
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July 01, 2012, 07:27:28 AM
 #51

Something I think people are forgetting, and this is obviously in defense of physical Bitcoin, but the vast majority of the people handing you a physical Bitcoin are going to be collectors or people that you KNOW. If you're buying these from people you don't know, you're always going to run the slight risk of being scammed.

By the time fake hologram coins are used, every coin before that point is still just as secure as it previously was (give or take a few months). That means the time to buy is honestly right now. I have bought from Casascius in the past and recently purchased yet again. I love being able to just show them off and give them to family and friends on the off chance that maybe someday they are worth more than their weight in gold. Call it a pipe dream, but it's definitely a way to impress and intrigue folks you run into.

Plus, I have a couple of the gold-plated 25 BTC coins in my safe for when I die, along with the names of family members that will receive them and the name of another local broker that will accept them. The more Bitcoin grows the more valuable these things become.

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