by John Frederic Kosanke
Ballet’s 0.001 BTC physical coin is an attractive gift, long-term store of value, and collector’s item. Made from 1 troy oz. copper, and loaded with real bitcoin valued at around $42 USD spot at the time of this review, it is an easy way to receive, send, and store bitcoin. No seed phrase or password needs to be memorized, and no tech wizardry is required.
The coin arrived in an attractive sealed package, and encased in a plastic housing. I was able to scan the QR code on the coin itself with the camera on my phone through the transparent wrapping without opening the package. The QR took me to a web page loaded with information about the coin – including its current value in BTC, a FAQ, and even a chat option. I was also able to download the app from the page.
As with other physical bitcoin products, Ballet’s copper coin contains the private key beneath a peel-off label on the back, which when removed leaves a tamper-evident honeycomb pattern around the private key. Their app, or a BIP-38 enabled wallet, is needed if you would like to move the bitcoin out of the coin.
Since I am laser-focused on security when it comes to physical bitcoin, I would like to see more details in the FAQ about how the manufacturing process prevents the private key from being compromised. This should include detailed steps taken to ensure that no person is allowed access to the private key, and that no record of it is retained online or offline. This could also include compliance with a security printing standard such as ISO 14298, and periodic review and certification by Intergraf or another comparable guarantor.
In the long term, I would also like to see Ballet become an issuer of a physical bitcoin currency that can be readily used as a medium of exchange for day to day purchases. This would require several things:
- The manufacturing process must include guarantees in addition to existing safeguards assuring that no person or machine has access to the private key,
- A guarantee that the currency is loaded prior to circulation, obviating any need to verify that it holds the stated funds,
- It must be visually obvious without close inspection if the contents of the coin, card, or banknote have been removed,
- The cost of design, production, and distribution must approach the stated value, allowing wide circulation without excessive subsidy. A high volume of production would make this possible.
In summary, I am pleased to have this coin as part of my collection, which I hope to pass along to my heirs. Since it was founded in 2016, Ballet has had a high reputation for integrity. I expect the value of bitcoin to increase dramatically as it eventually becomes a common medium of exchange as well as a unit of account for large enterprises and state treasuries.
I consider the Ballet 0.001 BTC 1 troy oz. copper coin to be a good investment and a great gift.