The Corbett Report, an independent, listener-supported alternative news source in Japan, featured Yoshi Kan of Raimu Inc., a Japanese import company, who said he is preparing the release the Sartori Coin, a physical bitcoin.
Kan said he and his brother became interested in bitcoin after reading a book called “The Creature from Jekyll Island.” He said they realized bitcoin is like digital gold in that it is money not based on debt. “It has a great future, we thought.”
“Bitcoin exists only on the Internet, but we wanted to spread the understanding of bitcoin among the Japanese people,” Kan said. They imported Japan’s first bitcoin ATM in 2014 but soon realized the ATM concept is too advanced for most Japanese people.
He began thinking what to do to spread the use of bitcoin among the Japanese. He came up with the idea of a physical bitcoin.
Kan said there have been other physical bitcoins such as Casaccius and Denarium, but they have been too costly. “We wanted to make the world’s most affordable physical bitcoin,” he said.
There is a “digital divide” between those who do and don’t have Internet access. He said he wants to give people with no Internet access the ability to store bitcoin.
The Sartori coin carries a small amount of bitcoin. Each 0.001 BTC (about 50 cents USD) is loaded onto each coin. He made the value so to make it nearly impossible to money launder, tax evade, or fund illegal activities with it. “We wanted just enough so that just in case bitcoin goes to zero, somebody’s going to lose sleep over it,” Kan said.
The coin will not be available in the U.S. The Internal Revenue Service says bitcoin is commodity, Kan said. When transferred, it requires a money transmitter’s license in each state, which would be impossible.
Other physical bitcoins like Denarium are in the U.S. but they not loaded with value, he said. It is up to the buyer to load the bitcoin. This did not seem like a good idea to Kan.
“What’s the point in selling an empty plastic coin?” Kan asks. The plan is to release Sartori globally.
One side of the coin features a hologram with a QR code beneath it. It takes some effort to peel. Once peeled, the QR code comes out. Once you have the QR code, you take a blockchain app and you import your account address, scan the code, and the BTC arrives in your account. “It is physical bitcoin, an intriguing idea,” James said.
Sartori is a Japanese Buddhist term for awakening. He called it Sartori due to what he sees as the life-altering power of bitcoin. “Many bitcoin users will attest that they see their lives as divided into two main periods; before understanding bitcoin and after bitcoin,” the website says. “Indeed, knowing bitcoin can dramatically change your view on what may arguably be the most important matter in life, money.”
Denarium’s purpose was similar to Sartori, according to CCN. Henry Brade, founder of Finland-based Denarium said the purpose was to allow everyone to have an easy-to-understand gateway to the world of bitcoin. He wanted the coins in the hands of bitcoin enthusiasts all over the world so they can use them as gifts to friends and family and while doing that they can explain what Bitcoin is about.