Cryptocurrency has been rapidly gaining popularity and paving a way into the mainstream, and now physical crypto coins are a reality. Bitcoin Banknotes, or ‘Smart Notes’ are up for sale in Singapore.

Tangem, a Swiss startup which has been working on creating cash-like transactions or physical cryptocurrency for some time now, has released its first batch of Bitcoin (BTC) Banknotes at the Megafash, a design store chain in Suntec City branch in Singapore. These notes will seek to improve the simplicity of using digital currency, especially with the entry level consumers. This is a step ahead towards rendering the acquiring, trading and owning digital currency uncomplicated for many. By the end of 2018, Tangem plans to mass produce these notes in “millions”.
The notes are available for immediate sale in denominations of 0.01 and 0.05 BTC (equalling 94 and 469 USD respectively). These notes are basically hardware storage units and represent a single set value. These can be physically handed out in payments. According to Tangem, which refers to them as “uncopiable cold wallets”, the notes are quite similar to physical currency, claiming them to be “Comparable to a well-protected paper banknote” and “Cheap enough to hand over.”

These banknotes have no convoluted mechanisms and are structurally and functionally simple. Further, it needs no special appliance to work, “just touch the banknote with an NFC-capable smartphone to be 100% sure it has valid assets.” The smart notes utilize a recently developed chip S3D350A, produced by Samsung. Elementally, the notes are self-contained wallets too, each with their own private key.

Tangem claims that the chip technology is secure and tamper-proof, considering that chips have been used in Credit Cards, SIMs, and IDs and is structured properly to avoid any security loopholes. Moreover, tampering with a single banknote is highly uneconomical, yet another reason to guarantee its security. Meanwhile, there are competitors like OpenDime, which embarked on a similar venture, producing a physical flash drive like product devoid of any values printed on it. Then there are cryptocurrency ATMs, which have been witnessing a huge growth in recent times. The downsides to these include the exorbitant fees and complexity of use for entry-level consumers as these require technical knowledge for operation. The Bitcoin Banknotes no doubt have an advantage over physical notes. The payment is instant, and no additional fees will be charged.

With firmware products like smart notes, open-source code is necessary to ensure security and transparency, and as for Tangem, the only freely available codes are for its Android and iOS apps. The company does claim that the full source code has been shared with Kudelski Group, a Swiss security firm, which apparently has reviewed and conducted an in-depth security audit of the product. As per reports, 10,000 more notes are being sent to various partners and distributors, in the hopes of attracting more consumers, and aiding them to get comfortable with the digital currency.

Currently, Tangem is developing a platform to aid mass adoption of blockchain technology with operations in of South Korea and Southern China, with R&D in Taiwan, Russia, and Israel.