A Review of RavenBit: The DIY Physical Bitcoin
RavenBit mailed me a kit of their physical bitcoin. The main difference between this coin and the Casascius or TitanBTC is that the customer is expected to print out the public and private keys on their own, and they are responsible for applying the tamper-evident hologram.
Their website specs show the composition and details about the coin:
Composition: Goldine brass alloy – appoximately 85% copper and 15% zinc
Weight: 27 grams
Thickness: Approximately 3mm
The coin comes with a snug transparent case that slips over the edges of the coin. The kit also includes a stand that appears to be made of acrylic. I’m not sure if I applied too much pressure, but the stand broke as I was sliding on the coin with the case.
The instructions with the kit properly guide a customer through the steps necessary to generate the private keys that will be placed under the hologram. They recommend that the computer used be offline and connected to a printer. This private key is then applied to the back of the coin and covered with the hologram.
I personally enjoyed being involved in adding the hologram to the coin, but the major downside to RavenBit’s approach is the circular spot provided to jot down the public key. There are a few rare times where I’ve manually typed in a public key, but the vast majority of my Bitcoin transactions involve me scanning a QR code representing the public key. I couldn’t find any barcode or QR code that could be applied in a circular fashion and scanned by a smartphone. I also attempted to apply a polar affect using GIMP to make the barcode a circle, but I did not have a circular bar code reader to test with.
I also wasn’t a huge fan of the coin’s design. I hope they plan on releasing multiple designs or crowd-sourced designs in the future.
I highly recommend that any Bitcoin user try this coin as it decentralizes the process of securing private keys, making it less prone to online hacks.
I’ve also reviewed Titan BTC’s coin.