Bitcoin mint Casascius is back, resuming the sale of its products on a limited basis.
The brainchild of entrepreneur Mike Caldwell, Utah-based Casascius coins was forced to shut down operations back in December.
The company was effectively put out of business by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), after the agency classified Caldwell’s activities as “money transmitting”.
At the time, Caldwell said he did not want to “argue” with FinCEN – though the decision was rather baffling, since he was merely minting physical coins.
As of yesterday, Casascius is back in business – with a catch. Caldwell is resuming sales of the aluminium coin which doesn’t actually contain any bitcoins.
Writing in his blog, Caldwell explained:
“I am also planning to sell unfunded coins for 2014 … These coins will have usable (but empty) private keys and can be fully funded by the buyer. They are essentially paper bitcoin wallets inside a coin container.”
In addition, Caldwell said he will be able to offer the original Casascius funded coins on a limited basis, but there are a number of restrictions. Namely, he can only make face-to-face sales in Utah and the coins will be only available in bulk for pre-qualified buyers.
“It is my understanding that the state of Utah does not currently consider sales of this nature to be subject to state regulation as money transmission.”
In other words, the sale of funded coins will be very limited indeed. Caldwell admitted that he does not expect much demand.
As for unfunded coins – which are now practically empty physical wallets – they will be available through the mail. To distinguish between the two coins, Caldwell has implemented some design changes.
Unfunded coins will feature quote marks around their denomination, if you can call it a domination at all, and they will no longer have a denomination etched into the hologram on the back.
It should be noted that these unfunded coins are not available yet, as Caldwell says he will need up to six weeks to produce them.
Bitcoin Image via Shutterstock