The unlikely collaboration of a former director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Larry Felix, and Bitcoin Foundation Founding Chairman Peter Vessenes has resulted in an interesting new way to move Bitcoins.
And in the process has taken cryptocurrency on a complete 180, creating Bitcoin banknotes you can keep in a leather wallet. Just like cash.
According to an announcement shared with Modern Consensus on March 9, Felix and Vessenes are collaborating with a Swiss Franc designer, Manuela Pfrunder, to launch their Noteworthy Bitcoin banknotes project.
“Noteworthy notes will look and feel like top-of-the-line currency while providing the coveted security of blockchain technology,” the company said.
Felix will serve as Noteworthy CEO and will oversee the design, development, and launch of the banknotes.
Bitcoin kept in a hardware wallet is arguably safer—harder to steal—and does not require trust in a third-party custodian keeping the Bitcoin when compared to a banknote in a safety deposit box. Still, Felix claims that a banknote would not only be more accessible, but also trustworthy:
“A physical banknote provides a level of trust, familiarity, and accessibility that digital assets on their own have yet to achieve. I look forward to working with the Noteworthy team to create a beautifully designed, easy-to-use, counterfeit-resistant banknote.”
But really, the paper bill isn’t the Bitcoin—its just the medium in which Noteworthy’s banknotes will have a “cryptographic microprocessor”—possibly an NFC chip—embedded, to allow users to interact with the notes through the dedicated mobile app.
So try really hard not to leave it in your pants pocket before doing the laundry. Of course, that applies just as much to an electronic hardware wallet.
“When I started working in Bitcoin, 1 BTC was worth less than $0.0005,” Vessenes said. “Today we’re discussing a $50,000 banknote.”
Numbers aside, this points to a much larger change that Bitcoin proponents have seen take place in the last year or so. The banks that were once viewed as the archenemy—remember Satoshi Nakamoto’s message in the Bitcoin genesis block took aim at the 2009 bailouts—are now adopting their beloved digital asset. As are the institutional investors who once derided it.
And it’s not just the modern banking giants like Citi and Goldman Sachs, with a finger in every pie. Earlier today, 222-year-old Donner & Reuschel, a German bank based in Hamburg, announced it will soon provide cryptocurrency custody and sales, and is working on tokenizing assets.