P. 6



               From here, a myriad physical bitcoins emerged, and Ahonen meticulously catalogs the lot of
               them. Using detailed photos, mintage numbers, and extensive background information, each coin
               tells its own story. Some come pre-funded, others with an address for the holder to later fund.
               Some represent events in Bitcoin history such as the collapse of Mt. Gox or the “10,000 btc
               bitcoin pizza”. Others promote internet memes like the dogecoin from “Shibe Mint.”
               Collectively, these coins represent the rich material history of early bitcoin and cryptocurrency
               that Ahonen has meticulously detailed in this book.

               Physical bitcoins are not just for collectors. Through detailing the history of physical bitcoin and
               cryptocurrency, Ahonen digs into the effect of social networks within the physical crypto
               economy; explaining the value of reputation of physical crypto sellers in the marketplace and
               how that reputation translates to real value. Minters and traders often begin by trading small
               value coins before they develop the necessary trust for purchasing larger value coins, and coin
               traders known for their reputation command a higher perch in the marketplace. Moreover,
               fraudsters and scam artists seeking to offload fake or deceptively billed coins are quickly
               revealed and reviled in the physical bitcoin community. In this way, the healthy distrust of
               currency ‘debasers’ – which appears to have subsided in the dollar-system world of the 20th and
               early 21st century – emerges as a naturally occurring numismatic property.

               Moreover, a physical bitcoin may be more alienable than digital bitcoin, and the physical bitcoin
               collector community could become an increasingly important part of the bitcoin ecosystem. With
               rising KYC barriers to bitcoin exchanges and increased transparency and surveillance of the
               blockchain by law enforcement and bitcoin compliance firms, transacting in physical bitcoin
               may be a way of transferring value without alerting the blockchain that a transfer of value has
               occurred. One Casascius coin can be traded thousands of times without triggering any verifiable
               transaction on the blockchain. Due to this property, it seems likely that as surveillance and
               mapping of wallet addresses in the blockchain increases, so too will the value of physical
               bitcoins relative to their digital peers.

               For his part, Ahonen acts not only as historian but as evangelist. After getting burned in the
               digital bitcoin space in Mt. Gox and other boondoggles, Elias found refuge in physical bitcoin
               buying his first brass Casascius coins in 2013. Today he has amassed a valuable collection,
               turning his focus to promoting the community through zealously and tirelessly championing his
               encyclopedia. Last April, after a signed copy was lost en route to Singapore, Ahonen flew to the
               buyer from Canada to personally sign a copy.  This form of physical couriering is common in the
               physical bitcoin world, and this is not Ahonen’s first international journey to trade or promote his
               life’s passion.
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11