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Bitbills – Bitcoin Gets Physical! Bitbills claim to be the first…

Bitbills – Bitcoin Gets Physical!

Bitbills claim to be the first physical incarnation of bitcoins.

A Bitbill is a plastic card that holds the cryptographic key that will allow the face value amount of the card to be spent.  The card is sold in denominations of 1 BTC, 5 BTC, 10 BTC and 20 BTC.

The key is on a QR code embedded within the card such that it cannot be read without the card showing evidence of tampering. Additionally, the card has a hologram affixed to ensure that the card is not a counterfeit.

The intention is that the card will be left unopened and then can be treated as money by being acceptable at face value when making a transaction in-person at a retailer, for example.

At any time, the card can be opened and the funds spent through the Bitcoin payment network.  Once the card has been opened it will no longer be acceptable as payment anywhere else due to the fact that the private key will have been revealed.

To spend using the private key requires first that a patch to the Bitcoin software is in place.  Improvements to that step are coming, according to the product’s website.

The launch was successful in that the entire first run of cards (shown above) was sold right away and it was reported on the launch announcement’s forum thread that all cards have since shipped.  Orders for the cards are accepted online and the only form of payment accepted is Bitcoin.  Pre-orders for the second run have begun.

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