On November 30, 2020, bitcoin crossed an all-time price high on a few global exchanges and between spot and derivatives markets there’s been a lot of action. One metric people didn’t notice was the fact that November 2020 saw the most number of redeemed Casascius physical bitcoins in three years. Approximately 92 coins were peeled throughout the last 30 days and there are only 20,686 Casascius physical bitcoins left active.
In the bitcoin world, there are a number of coins that hold numismatic value, which means the bitcoin could be worth more than the spot market value of the BTC. For instance, legend has it that virgin bitcoins (freshly minted by a miner) can fetch a premium because no one has ever transacted with them before.
However, the most common bitcoins holding numismatic value are physical bitcoins that also hold a premium and a value of BTC as well. The most famous and most valuable physical bitcoins were created by Mike Caldwell from 2011 to 2013.
Caldwell’s Casascius physical bitcoin collection website is still online, but the manufacturing operation is no longer operational. This is because Caldwell had to quit issuing physical bitcoins that are loaded with real BTC thanks to harsh U.S. regulations.
Ever since Caldwell created the Casascius coins, people have been redeeming the digital value from the physical metal’s private key. Caldwell made both coins and bars and last year at the end of December, someone peeled (redeemed) a 100 BTC gold-plated bar. The digital value on the bar alone is worth close to $2 million today and there’s not that many 100 Casascius bars left.
Current data shows that there’s been over 78% of the series one 100 BTC Casascius gold-plated bars redeemed to-date, according to casasciustracker.com. Last month, when BTC touched record highs, the crawler from casasciustracker.com recorded 92 coins redeemed, which is the highest peel-rate in three years.
Last month’s number of Casascius bitcoin redemptions is the highest since December 2017 when BTC touched a high of $19,666 per unit. In 2017, however, a greater number of Casascius bitcoins were peeled, as data shows 411 Casascius bitcoin redemptions during the month of December. This means in November 2020, people peeled 22% of the aggregated count of physical coins and bars redeemed during the last bull run.
At the time of publication, 20,686 Casascius physical bitcoins are still left active and there is only one series that has been fully redeemed. The series 2 Casascius 500 BTC bars have all been redeemed, but there was only one 500 BTC bar made and it’s worth $9.5 million today.
The holy grail of all the Casascius bitcoin collection treasures is the 1,000 BTC series one bar worth a touch over $19 million using today’s exchange rates. Caldwell issued 16 of these large bars and so far 14 have been redeemed, which means there are only two left in existence.
Another thing that makes Casascius bitcoins even more valuable than face value, is the fact that every coin was made before 2013. This means owners can not only redeem the BTC’s private key, but all the forked assets as well including BCH, BSV, and other branches.
Second market sales of the Casascius bitcoin collection are catching premiums today and even peeled coins that Caldwell produced are selling for $750 empty. Ebay has a number of sellers selling funded Casascius bitcoins too and in order to buy any, people have to have a lot of money to spare.
For instance, there’s an Ebay ad for five Casascius bitcoins minted in 2012 and the seller wants $150k for the lot. Meanwhile, another seller is selling a rare 2011 physical Casascius coin with a single bitcoin funded on it for $101k.
Connoisseurs who are looking to break the bank to buy one of these funded Casascius bitcoins on Ebay could spend anywhere between $40,000 to well over $100k per coin. Moreover, physical bitcoins made by BTCC, Denarium, Cryptolator, Lealana, Titan, and others sell for a premium on second market websites too.
Casascius bitcoins and many other physical bitcoin crafters who loaded digital BTC to the coins during manufacture are a super rarity to find these days. Regulations have quite literally ruined the loaded physical bitcoin industry, and people now have to buy coins from secondary markets. The popular physical bitcoin manufacturer Denarium stopped selling coins in July 2020 after running the operation since 2015.
“It is a great achievement to retire a five-year-old physical bitcoin business with zero hacks and more than 15,000 produced units that hold more than 5M USD (600+ BTC),” Denarium’s Chief Production Officer Viljami Räisä said when the business closed.
Similar to Casascius bitcoins, Denarium coin owners can also check the status of the coins the company issued since inception. Data shows that out of the 15,084 Denarium physical bitcoins minted, 603 BTC remain active and unpeeled.
What do you think about the recent spike in Casascius bitcoin redemptions last month? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
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