While Bitcoin is famous for being an intangible asset, this isn't exactly true. A little after the inception of Bitcoin the first physical wallets appeared in the form of paper. A few years later the first Bitcoins in metallic form appeared.
Physical Bitcoins are actually Bitcoin coins! They have the design of a metal coin along with art and symbols and contain an amount of Bitcoin which is redeemable. They usually contain a private key behind a holographic layer that can be redeemed and the coin can be kept for collectible value. It is not recommended to redeem the Bitcoins as the value of the coin as a whole is always worth more. In general keeping collectibles intact and inside their packaging also raises the potential value of them. Another important characteristic of these coins is that they may contain a certain amount of gold in them as material, which also adds to their value.
A good source of information on physical Bitcoins can be found on the "Collectibles" section of the bitcointalk forum (link). There are auctions and posts on trading physical Bitcoins, although the given section is about all collectibles in general, and there is no individual category for physical Bitcoins.
I have been looking into these collectibles and most of them are of high quality and detail. They can be considered a form of art and a good investment as well. The demand for this kind of collectibles will only increase along with the increase in Bitcoin's adoption. The names of these coins are given to them by the names of the companies that released them. A lot of them might have stopped producing physical Bitcoins lately, still, this doesn't make their collector's value less significant. I'm sure that most of us would love to own a tangible Bitcoin.
Denarium - Website: https://denarium.com/
Denarium is offering physical Bitcoins for more than five years. They have produced more than 15,000 and lately announced they will perform a sale of their remaining stock and will stop producing Denarium Bitcoins.
Lealana - Website: http://www.lealana.com/
The collection that goes by the name Lealana is the work of smoothie. He ships internationally and besides Bitcoin, he has also created Litecoin and Monero physical coins.
Casascius (by Mike Caldwell) - Website: https://www.casascius.com/ (inactive)
The Casascious Bitcoins are legendary and so is their creator, Mike Caldwell (bitcointalk: casascius). He announced the creation of the first physical Bitcoin called Casascius Bitcoin with this post, back in Sep 2011.
In total Mike Caldwell minted around 25,000 Casascius Bitcoins until 2013, when he suspended the sales after getting notified by authorities that he needs to register as a financial institution, as the creation of physical Bitcoins attributes to creating new money!
He also designed seven 1,000BTC Casascius Bitcoins. This is the Holy Grail of physical Bitcoins and I only know one person that owns a 1000BTC coin. According to this video, Zhou Tong admitted he kept a 1000 BTC Casascius Bitcoin to remind him of his time in the Bitcoin space.
With Bitcoin's price close to $10,000, this coin can be considered the most valuable coin in the world.
1000 BTC Casascius Bitcoin
Titan Bitcoin - Website: https://www.titanbtc.com/
This producer has a different page on the website for every different design, with full description and price details. The coin comes with a certificate of authentication by Titan Mint.
Source: Titan BTC
Source: Titan BTC
Problems with Physical Coins
Many people are thinking that physical bitcoins are counter to the idea of Bitcoin as we need to put trust in a third party that will be honest and won't back up the private keys, just to empty the wallets after they are sold. Something similar happened to the next manufacturer:
There are accusations against this company scamming their customers. A bitcointalk member posted posted an article (link), when he found out that his alitin coin address had been emptied. The company responded to his requests and after investigating they found that probably someone from inside the company was responsible for the theft. They did refund the customers that contacted them, but still, the fact remains that these collectibles lost a lot of novel value.
The website Alitinmint.com is no longer available and according to the article, there had been many cases of coins being compromised. This was the post by one of the founders of Alitin Mint, explaining himself over the incident.
Alitin Mint (source)
There are more physical bitcoin designers as cryptmint, antana, ravenbit and coinedbits, but most of these websites don't seem to work and weren't as popular as the above. If you are in collectible I suggest looking at physical Bitcoins. They can be considered a good investment too, and in case adoption increases a lot, I am certain that the interest in this form of art will enjoy increasing interest.
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Reposted on Uptrennd