Physical Bitcoins Are Back: Finnish Startup Targets Asian Market
Finnish company Denarium, owner of the country’s largest exchange Bittiraha.fi and ATM network Bittimaatti, has announced an international rollout of “next generation” physical bitcoins.
After achieving success in the relatively Bitcoin-friendly Finnish jurisdiction, the move is the first attempt by Denarium to access a more international client base. The announcement was onfirmed on CEO Henry Brade's Twitter earlier this afternoon.
Brade explained in a press release issued today that the Denarium product would differentiate itself from previous offerings by providing both practicality and cost-effectiveness to holders of the coins, something which has hitherto been lacking within the physical coin market.
“Years ago I used to give [physical bitcoins] out to friends and family but nowadays it’s simply not possible because the coins are too expensive,” he explained. “We decided that we have the expertise and the right kind of regulatory environment to bring them back and eventually we came up with Denarium Bitcoin.”
Physical bitcoins have been the subject of debate since their inception in 2011. The advantages pertaining to increasing mass adoption of Bitcoin via a tangible medium have long been espoused by the coins’ proponents, but practical issues of cost and regulatory hurdles have seen the vast majority either fail or become no more than collector’s items.
These factors influenced the demise of Casascius, the first developer of physical coins, which corresponded to ‘actual’ bitcoins, was forced to stop selling them in 2013. Now, Denarium is seeking to gain a foothold and compete to provide a solution to potential adopters, particularly in China and elsewhere in Asia.
“Asia has a number of emerging bitcoin markets with huge volumes of potential adopters,” said Ville Oehman, an investor and the CEO of Singapore startup Quantified who is working with Denarium on introducing the concept in the region. He added:
“Just as in the West previously, a tangible bitcoin is a great first step into bitcoins for millions of new users, and makes the whole concept easier to understand.”
Denarium’s bitcoins contain a private key stored both in plain text and as a QR code for ease of spending. Available in denominations of 0.1 and 0.01 BTC, there will also be ‘empty’ coins available without any BTC value.
A presale of the coins is due to start Monday, with the first deliveries set for June this year.
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