I bought several 2009 Bitcoins and they came in a nice case but that is all the info I have on them. How do I cash them in?
It seems that you have what many people would call physical bitcoins. There are several kinds, but I am not aware of any from before 2011 that actually take the shape of a coin. The probably best known type is made by Casascius. Is there any additional information you could provide? Maybe a photo?
Anyways, if this is what you have, then be aware that none of them are in any way official. They are merely someone's personal invention. To link them to bitcoin, they usually contain the private key, with some more or less effective tamper-protection (e.g. hidden behind a self-voiding seal or the like). If printed, this private key is a long string of alphanumerical characters starting with 5. With this private key you can, using a bitcoin client, take possession of the actual bitcoin(s) associated with the coin. Look out if anyone has done that before you! The coin should also display a bitcoin address, without being hidden behind a seal or the like, which you can use to check if there actually are real bitcoins associated with it using web services such as blockexplorer.com or blockchain.info. You recognize the bitcoin address by starting with 1 if given as a string of alphanumeric characters. Sometimes bitcoin addresses and private keys are additionally shown as QR codes for easy scanning by bitcoin apps for smartphones.
As Jannes pointed out in an earlier answer, do check if your coin has collector's value. Particularly if it is true that you got a physical bitcoin manufactured by someone as early as 2009, it may really be special.
For instance, this post on Bitcoin Forum list the different types of known physical criptcoins, with some info about their mintage and sales history. The Series-1 1BTC Casascius Coin is the one with seems to attract the highest collector interest, since it was the first physical criptocoin ever to be released to the world. In the Bitcoin Forum, some of those coins were reportedly sold for 8 BTC, even though they are only loaded with 1BTC.
That's not a whole lot of info to go on. I guess there should be a way to open them or remove a sticker to uncover a private key.
On the other hand you might be better off selling them on ebay as they can be worth a bit more too a collector than the bitcoin value. Although you have to be careful with chargeback fraud I guess.
2009 physical bitcoin? Unless someone actually minted a physical bitcoin back then and loaded them with bitcoin as the casacaus mintages from 2011 -2013 did and they have a private key which is protected somehow until it is redeemed and acts like a digital wallet when the private and public keys generate valid transfer data and update the bitcoin network with the new data to maintain a constant and redundant database which the exchange relies on to validate and verify every bitcoin and the key generation process and prevents the possibility of a counterfeit bitcoin key being able to successfully create valid data if a transfer is attempted, and also secures the exchange of a bitcoin by only allowing the senders public key to be accessible since the private and public key are used in the calculation to generate a unique string which is only accessible to the recipient because his public key is used to encrypt the transfer and only his private key can generate a valid transfer string, which contains the data relevant to the bitcoin I'd, the amount, and the public key of the sender. The use of the private keys in the calculations is to generate the valid data, but cannot be extracted from any of the data. The physical bitcoin is the same, except the private key is the physical coins wallet key, and most wallets are digital and used as personal wallets instead of a container that can be held and traded physically. You should be able to look up the bitcoin value with the public key if the coin has one, otherwise, it's probably just a promotional token or a fake. Is like to see a photo, email me at [email protected] if you can. Good luck!
Here's what I dug up:
- DIY coins
There is another way of getting your hands on a physical bitcoin – make one yourself. We are not suggesting that you set up a foundry and mint in your garage; a simple 3D printer will do the trick.
There are a number of print-ready 3D designs out there and they are just a Google search away, usually on 3D print marketplaces like Shapeways.
The trouble with this approach is that most designs are relatively expensive, even before you include the cost of actually printing them. While it is relatively cheap to do a few plastic prints on semi-professional fused-filament printers, making a proper metal coin on an expensive laser-sintering printer tends to cost a lot.
Image via Shapeways In any case, 3D printing is an alternative way of producing unique physical coins by tweaking existing designs or developing your own.
One example of an affordable design that relies on nylon plastic with a matte finish is the Bitcoin Address Keeper by Ayame Deude. The 3D model costs €8.50 and, if you have access to a printer, the actual cost of printing a single coin should be low.
3D printing fulfilment services are another option, but in many cases the cost of shipping a single coin would be higher than the cost of printing it.