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Early Timeline of Casascius Physical Bitcoins

Wired recently reported that Mike Caldwell's Casascius Physical Bitcoin service was halted due to being categorized as "money transmission" business by FINCEN.
Curious to learn more about the coins and why they were created, I prepared a short timeline from postings on the Bitcoin Forum.
December 30, 2010
Member tcatm describes a prototype he created for a phycical bitcoin and posts an image:
I just made a "real" bitcoin. They'll eventually be made of real metal instead of glass epoxy + copper once I have better tools.
The post receives positive responses with many suggestions, including one from Caldwell.
January 7, 2011
Caldwell proposes "a tangible bitcoin that actually conveys BTC":
The point would be making BTC conveniently tradeable, like cash. It lowers the minimum required IQ to participate in the Bitcoin economy, which would really help Bitcoin be accepted as mainstream currency.
His first idea was to load bitcoin onto a "pre-denominated smart card". Reaction to the idea is mixed. Member Mike Hearn quickly questions the usefulness of a physical card when the balance could only ever be verified by a computer connected to a network:
... it's very easy for you to pay me with a used up card. I would then pass it on (why redeem it, it's cash!) and it'd pass between people until one day somebody wanted to send the cash electronically. Only then would they discover the card had already been redeemed and was useless.
June 24, 2011
Undeterred by skeptics, Mike continues to iterate on his idea for a physical payment method backed by Bitcoin. This time, he suggests selling paper bitcoin wallets though PayPal. Wallets would be printed using an offline keypair generator.
Although the idea receives some interest, most responses are negative. One member member called the idea "too complicated and messy for the average Joe." Another stated that "No one in their right mind would trust an unknown 3rd party with full access." Another summed the idea up in one sentence:
I can't even begin to understand how you could think that this would be a viable business.
August 15, 2011
Member RSantana announces physical bitcoins he's minted (image) and links to a website selling them.
August 19, 2011
Caldwell announces the coming availability of physical bitcoins for sale (image):
Each coin has a private key embedded inside worth 1 BTC, covered by a custom Casascius hologram. ... Diameter: 1.125 inches. Material: brass. Price subject to revision with Bitcoin price fluctuations. The back side is flat for the hologram, except for a small circular well which holds the private key. The first 8 characters of the public Bitcoin address are visible on the outside, pre-printed on the hologram by the hologram manufacturer.
Reactions range from offers to buy to questions about long-term viability. The same day, member spiccioli points out that the Latin inscription on the front side, "VIRES IN NUMERIS", should have read "vis in numeris".
September 6, 2011
Caldwell announces the availability of Cassascius Physical Bitcoins (image). Reactions are numerous, and mostly positive.
Edits: grammar
submitted by BobAlison to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

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