We live in an amazing time: money that exists electronically and belongs to no country is worth tens of thousands of dollars….No wonder the bitcoin phenomenon has been thrilling the minds of economists and speculators for years.
Hardly any asset’s price could go sky high in a single decade. Nevertheless, the decentralized superorganism backed only by hope and expectations managed to do it.
Without a doubt, many people are wondering: is it possible to see BTC firsthand? Can I hold it in my hands? It turns out that you can! The article presents a review of top physical bitcoin providers. Let’s jump right into it.
What Is a Physical Bitcoin?
Here’s the simplest explanation with no metaphors or hyperbole: this is the physical representation of hashcash. It’s shaped in the form of a traditional coin and has a stylish exclusive design. Some coins are created for souvenirs, while others are the digital currency with a physical form.
The coins can be minted from precious and semi-precious metals with gold plating or silver. They have varying denominations. The area of production is not regulated or monitored. Why? Because there is no actual owner who would set the requirements for the design and production.
Of course, physical BTC can’t be used in the traditional payment system, but it has great value for collectors. It also can be backed by digital currency. A user can cash it out if he opens the hologram and scans the QR code of the private key.
A Teensy Bit of Backstory
Taking a walk down memory lane, the production of physical BTC began in 2011. The guiding idea was to allow the owner to demonstrate it visually or put it in someone else’s hands. Mike Caldwell (a.k.a Casascius) was the first one who tried to make that dream come true.
Each Casascius coin was equivalent to 0,1 / 0,5 / 1 / 5 / 10 / 25 / 1000 BTC, or empty. As a rule of thumb, the new means of money were made of metallic materials (gold, silver, or brass). They had a private key and a holographic sticker to protect against unauthorized access. According to Cointelegraph, the company “minted” 27,834 coins worth $3.5 billion.
But time passed. Three years of time. The production was suspended. Caldwell was forced to give up his idea. The reason: allegations of illicit activities made by FinCEN. Nevertheless, you can still buy the coins online.
The most valuable copy (1000 BTC) is worth about $52.6 million for today. At the moment when Caldwell stopped “minting” coins, he sealed 90,683 BTC. Half of them have not been spent yet.
Top 5 Producers
There are a number of physical bitcoin producers. Coins can be purchased both on eBay and the companies’ websites (if they are in stock, or are still being produced).
The BTC Mint V coins are the first of their kind, as they contain BTCs that have never been in circulation. So basically they came directly from the BTCC mining pool. Each coin has a hologram sticker that protects against hacking, with a private key under it. The material is titanium, which means they are lightweight and durable. Production of this series was stopped in 2016.
The company provides the next-generation physical bitcoins to date. There are 15,084 coins worth 603 BTC. 1 BTC made of silver, light, and dark gold
0.1 / 0.01 BTC made of gold, 1 BTC covered with patina, There are also Christmas collections in special holiday packages.
The British company TGBEX Limited made high-quality physical bitcoins until 2016. The material is brass with silver and gold or only silver. Highly detailed coins are difficult to replicate. Every one is numbered, the holograms are carved by hand. Each coin goes with a certificate of authenticity signed by the company’s owners, a jewelry-type gift box, and a booklet with a description of BTC and exchange instructions.
0,5 / 1 / 2 BTC, there are literally only a few of them left.
10/20 BTC were also created. However, they came into existence solely owing to the need to collect KYC / AML / ID information. Given the number of coins available today (for example, only 4 are on eBay), these are designated as “collector coins”.
The coins had been produced until 2018. They have unique styling, one of a kind: every coin is put in a secure case that resembles a cigarette one. It looks handmade. What is more, they are decorated by the designer. They count for much among crypto lovers. It’s all thanks to their high-quality, unique, and very expensive look.
According to the official Kiallara website, the series includes:
Original 0.1 BTC (2014),
2015 Labyrinth 0.1 BTC ( 2,500 coins),
2015 Original 1 BTC Gold (limited edition, 100 coins),
2015 Original 1BTC w/ Silver (250 coins),
2017 — ‘To the Moon’(0,1 / 0,5 / 2 BTC),
Silver Series, 2018 — ‘Hydra’ (Ruby‘ ‘Diamond‘, ‘Emerald‘ 0,1 BTC).
Binary Eagle and Binary Bull Coins
The TopWorldCoins GmbH company (Poland) has been producing physical bitcoins since 2014. The series includes two coins issued in 2014 and 2019. The first one is made of pure silver and minted by Mennica Polska. So it is by some people considered to be unique.
The design of the second coin includes complex elements and security functions. It has a sticker with the private key of the wallet, as well as a protective holographic image. The private key is created automatically. Please don’t worry, it’s not stored in the producer’s database.
Binary Bull is also made of silver, dedicated to the tenth anniversary of Satoshi Nakamoto’s brainchild. It has the image of a bull on it. A special feature of the design: it looks old or inspired by something old. It goes in a case with a certificate of authenticity. The number of coins is limited — there are 2019 of them worldwide, so it is quite difficult to find them today.