Once you learn about the existence of an actual physical bitcoin, the next question imposes itself: how much is a physical bitcoin worth?

These coins’ value can even be higher than the digital token. If you’re looking to maximize the investment and physically hold onto your digital asset, read on and learn why Bitcoin’s physical coin may be an attractive solution.

What Is a Physical Bitcoin?

Although the world is moving toward a cashless society, the need for physical assets remains. This is what sparked the idea behind a physical bitcoin. A physical bitcoin is a digital currency in a physical form.

The first iteration of the physical bitcoin was the Casascius coin. Invented by Bitcoin investor Mike Caldwell in 2011, this first wave of physical bitcoin was similar to a fiat coin like the quarter or dime in that it physically represented the value of a bitcoin (BTC). However, after the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network notified Caldwell that giving the coins immediate value would pose significant problems, the coins were discontinued.

After Casascius, other companies and mints, like Alitin Mint, started creating physical bitcoins with no immediate value attached to BTC currency. Instead, these coins hold a unique digital private key that can access the actual bitcoins via a Bitcoin wallet specific to that coin.

Alitin Mint then advanced the coin’s worth by displaying unique designs on the coins, quickly making them collector’s items, while increasing awareness of Bitcoin. Unfortunately, after the private keys became compromised, Alitin Mint closed its doors as well.

Today, there are over 57 kinds of physical bitcoins, with old ones still circulating. More are sure to come as new companies in the crypto space learn from their predecessor’s mistakes.

physical bitcoin on top of stashes of us dollars

What Does a Physical Bitcoin Look Like?

Often made from a 3D printer using metals like brass, silver, or gold, a physical bitcoin looks like a regular round coin. While some coins may display their value, most physical bitcoins have a Bitcoin symbol on one side and a digital code on the other. For many coins, a holographic sticker covers the digital code.

While the Casascius coin was straightforward in its appearance, other physical crypto coins are not. You may find that some have different imprints, designs, or even jokes printed on them.

How Do Physical Bitcoins Work?

Like Bitcoin ATMs — where you buy bitcoins — and hardware wallets — where you store bitcoins — physical bitcoins provide another way to access your online currency.

But how do physical bitcoins work? Every physical bitcoin has a unique digital code hidden under a holographic sticker, which you will find on the back of the coin. Once you remove this sticker, you can scan the code to access an online wallet that contains the digital bitcoin.

Once you know how many bitcoins your physical coin represents, you’ll see the actual worth of the digital bitcoins attached to the coin. After that, you can sell or exchange your bitcoin.

Types of Physical Bitcoin

While most investors keep Bitcoin in its digital form, physical crypto coins hold massive appeal for those looking for more out of their investment. Some coins — like Alitin Mint — have collector’s value, and people sell them on sites like eBay for fiat currency. This allows your crypto coin to provide you with more than just a digital investment but also a physical one.

But the Alitin Mint coin isn’t the only physical bitcoin on the market. With over 57 different physical crypto coins, let’s take a look at different types you may come across:

  • Casascius: Although no longer in circulation, this coin is still the most common physical bitcoin. Its value is evident, with over 19,000 active coins ranging from a 0.5 BTC token to a 1,000 BTC gold-plated bar.
  • Alitin Mint: While this company has also since folded, its bitcoin designs were the next step for bitcoin. With designs by John B. Andelin featuring Joan of Arc and economist Adam Smith, these physical crypto coins were among the first to connect the coins to a digital wallet.
  • Titan Bitcoin: Similar to Alitin, Titan Bitcoin focused on increasing the worth of the physical object by including notable Greek and Roman designs.
  • Antana: Putting their spin on the physical bitcoin, Antana made crypto coins that injected comedy into the Bitcoin space. Rather than having a standard or refined look, their novelty coins featured inside jokes relevant to cryptocurrency.

How Much Is a Physical Bitcoin Worth?

physical bitcoins

So, are physical bitcoins worth anything? Yes! These coins are often worth more than the digital bitcoins. The real question, however, is just how much is a Bitcoin’s physical coin worth.

Determining a Bitcoin’s physical coin’s worth is based on varying factors. Some of these factors include:

  • Coin material: A gold coin would, naturally, be worth more than a metal plating.
  • Collectability: Manufacturers such as Alitin Mint and Antana used distinctive traits in their coins that increased their value.
  • Rarity: Because manufacturers like Casascius and Alitin Mint have shut down and are no longer producing coins, their existing physical bitcoins are pricier.

If you’re looking to invest in Bitcoin through its physical form, thoroughly inspect the Bitcoin’s physical coin against these factors to determine its worth.

How to Tell if a Physical Bitcoin Is Real

With over 50 types of physical bitcoins in circulation, it can be hard to know if someone is offering you a real one. Here are some steps to take in order to ensure you’re not being scammed:

  • Examine its weight and dimensions, ensuring they match the official specifications;
  • Check for unique engravings or holographic elements, such as private keys or QR codes, confirming their alignment with the manufacturer’s standards;
  • Look for a tamper-evident seal or packaging and verify its legitimacy by cross-referencing serial numbers or associated documentation;

If you’re uneasy verifying these things yourself, you can always seek expert opinions to validate the coin’s legitimacy before making any purchases.

Are Physical Bitcoins Real?

Although they are not yet mainstream, physical bitcoins are very much real. Moreover, with most coins in circulation coming from shut-down companies, many are now considered rare. This makes them an even more rewarding investment.

With Bitcoin continuing to grow in name and popularity, there’s no doubt that interest in these physical bitcoins may change from Is it worth it? to How can I get my hands on it?


Now that you know what physical bitcoin is, how much it’s worth, the different types of physical bitcoins available, and how sellers determine physical bitcoin value, you understand the appeal it has to many investors.

Because many of these coins provide physical and digital value, they offer an extra layer of investment and financial security. With physical bitcoins, like those from Casascius and Alitin Mint, only growing in value with each passing day, it’s never too late to invest in Bitcoin.


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