Frequently asked questions about Casascius Physical Bitcoins
Q. Couldn't someone just use an iron / hairdryer / a solvent / whatever to
remove and replace the hologram?
A. Try it. The holograms were made by a premier manufacturer who
understands they are in the business of making tamper-evident labels, and it
looks to me like they did a really good job. It's pretty difficult to
remove the hologram without exposing an obvious "honeycomb" tamper evident
pattern. The tamper pattern is extremely sensitive and not concealable
once exposed - so sensitive in fact, I ruin over 10% of the holograms just
preparing the coins and have to discard them. I don't know of a way, and I'd be interested to hear
if you do.
Q. Do you keep a copy of the private key? Who has had access to the
A. I did not keep the private keys, and I am the only person who has ever had
control over the private keys. I have either inserted the private keys
into the coins myself, or have directly supervised others doing the same.
On the series 1 coins, the hologram manufacturer pre-printed the
addresses onto the hologram labels, but they were only given the 8 characters
you see, not the private keys themselves.
Q. It's impossible to prove you didn't keep the private keys, and with all the
Bitcoin scams lately, why should I believe you?
A. I have given out my real-world identity and have digitally signed a
list of the Bitcoin addresses used in this project. I have made it so that
it if I were to perpetrate a scam, it would be possible to prove it and to hold
me legally accountable - something no scammer wants to do. You should
demand the same from anyone handling your cryptocurrency.
Q. How did you generate the
private keys? Was this done securely? What was your entropy source? How can I be sure the keys are properly
A. Detailed answers to questions like these can be found on my
Statement of Controls.
ABOUT THE ORIGINAL SERIES CASASCIUS PHYSICAL BITCOIN
Near the end of October 2011, Casascius Physical Bitcoins were featured on
CNet, and I
had to raise the price on the original 1 BTC
Casascius Physical Bitcoin due to overwhelming demand. This only applied
to the 1 BTC coin, not the 25.
PRESERVING THE ORIGINAL SERIES
When I introduced Casascius Physical Bitcoins, part of the motivation was to
introduce a proof of concept, a conversation piece to help people talk to
others about Bitcoin and perhaps to be the first to market to make a real "coin"
out of Bitcoins - something I perceive as being of historical significance given
my enthusiasm for the project. What I didn't expect in the beginning, is
that a large part of the interest in Casascius Physical Bitcoins is from
people wanting to collect the coin, who see it as a token of the same historical
significance I see. Needless to say, I am flattered that what is arguably
a hobby project of mine is demanded as a collectible.
My plan is to preserve the
collectible value of the original series for those interested in collecting it.
Other than to accommodate variations in the BTC exchange rate, I do not intend to lower the price on the original series, only the new series.
There will never be more than 11,000 of the original series coins,
probably much fewer than this. This coin can be identified by a
misspelling of "CASASCIUS" in the small background print (the middle S is
missing). As of December 2011 I have made about 3500,
and the final count will be further limited by other factors: the percentage of the
uniquely numbered holograms that get ruined from the start, many of the sold coins have been opened and
redeemed, some of the holograms have gone into the 25 BTC coins, and am not sure if I will keep doing them by hand myself
if I can manage series 2 better. I have
published a list of all the Bitcoin addresses pre-generated for the original
project, and maybe someone out there can take this list and scan the block chain and tell us just
how many unspent ones there are out there.
There are 7.5 million digital Bitcoins as of October 2011 - if I were to make
11,000 1BTC coins, I will still have coined less than 0.2% of all the
Bitcoins out there.
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