While bitcoin is getting scarcer by the day, the most popular physical bitcoins produced by Mike Caldwell from 2011 to 2013 have become far more scarce than their digital counterparts. As of September 2021, there are fewer than 20,000 active bitcoins from Casascius’ physical bitcoin collection.
Casascius’ physical bitcoin collection is getting scarcer
Bitcoin has become a well-known technology and in the early years a number of people and companies introduced concepts called “physical bitcoins”. Essentially, a group or individual would create a coin with the Bitcoin symbol engraved on it, and the coin would also keep digital BTC hidden in the body of the coin.
It is safe to say that the Casascius physical bitcoin collection created by Mike Caldwell is the most popular collection to date, and these rare physical bitcoins sell for much more than the face value of the digital bitcoins they hold.
Casascius bitcoins have a holographic tamper evident sticker on one side of the coin, and when the sticker is peeled off, the digital bitcoin’s private key is revealed. Caldwell made both coins and bars containing charged bitcoins (BTC), creating Series 1 (1-1,000 BTC), Series 2 (0.5-500 BTC + the DIY storage bars), and Series 3 ( 0.5-1 BTC).
Unfortunately, the US government forced Caldwell to stop minting Casascius bitcoins with loaded BTC. At the end of Caldwell’s tenure, during which he was producing these coins, he managed to mint around 27,920 Casascius Bitcoins with various increments of charged BTC. Over the years, the owners have redeemed the loaded value of these Casascius Bitcoins in a process known as “peel”.
On December 23, 2019, Bitcoin.com News reported that a 100 BTC gold bar had been withdrawn or redeemed. This means that the BTC digital value was issued by the owner and the physical bar is blank and there is no digital value left. Ten years after the first Casascius Bitcoins were minted, less than 20K are still active with BTC charged.
19,920 physical Casascius Bitcoins to be peeled off
According to statistics from casasciustracker.com, about 19.92K active Casascius bitcoins are waiting to be withdrawn on September 18, 2021. So far, 8,009 coins or bars have been redeemed in the past decade and there are still around 43,000 BTC worth over $ 2 billion unpeeled.
48,169 BTC worth $ 2.3 billion was spent through the peeling process. Additionally, there are some lucky owners who still have to peel 1,000 BTC bars or coins worth $ 48 million based on today’s exchange rates. For example, of the six 1,000 BTC Series 1 Casascius Bitcoins, only 2 have been redeemed so far.
In the same series, Caldwell minted 16 1,000 BTC bars and so far 87.50% or 14 bars have been redeemed. 81 Series 2 100 BTC coins (valued at $ 4.8 million each) have been minted by Caldwell and to date, 47 coins or 58.02% of the BTC from this minted set have been redeemed.
Today, Casascius’ physical Bitcoin collection has achieved significant numismatic value and the coins and bars are considered coveted Bitcoin collectibles. Even shelled Casascius bitcoins are still worth, and some of them sell for $ 1,999 (for a 2012 piece). A loaded physical Casascius silver bitcoin at 0.1 BTC ($ 4,834) from 2013 is selling for $ 20,000 today. A rare, uncharged set of 125 physical aluminum Casascius Bitcoins sells for $ 4,995.
What do you think of the fact that fewer than 20,000 Casascius Bitcoins are active today? Let us know what you think on this matter in the comments below.
Photo credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, casasciustracker.com
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