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Ok, so let's say I have a wallet with 1 BTC in it. Is it possible to transfer that balance to a QR code or some type of barcode?

I want to know if it's possible to basically print out a piece of paper with a barcode or QR on it and physically hand it to someone else so they can scan the code and receive the coin the same way a giftcard works.

Furthermore, is there a way to encode a giftcard with a specific amount of bitcoin so someone could then scan it and the BTC would be transferred to their wallet?

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That's a paper wallet. Search for that. bitaddress.org or paperwallet.com are examples.

The way you intend to use it basically comes down to printing the private key part of a bitcoin wallet and giving that to someone else. Another use would be putting it in a safe so you can't get hacked.

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Yes, you can definitely do that.

In fact, a news anchor gave a few of his fellow anchors Bitcoin gift cards with QR codes on them live on TV. Then, a reddit user was able to scan the QR code and actually steal the Bitcoins! (He offered to refund them, and made it clear he was just trying to prove a point).

The news anchor created his Bitcoin QR code through lazzerbee, which focuses on high quality printed gift certificates.

Bitaddress.org is probably easiest site to use to generate a simple printed Bitcoin wallet.

You can find a tutorial on creating a paper wallet here:

http://blockchain.info/wallet/paper-tutorial

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