Kialara Coin: The Physical Bitcoin Token I’ll Never Fund

in bitcoin •  last year  (edited)

The poet W.H. Auden once said that “A craftsman knows in advance what the finished result will be, while the artist knows only what it will be once he has finished it.” I’m fairly sure that Max Mellenbruch, creator of Kialara coins, knew how beautiful his physical bitcoins would be. His art was creating each of the layers, but there was a craft in putting them all together and knowing how they would combine into a design like no other.

In a previous blog post, I wrote about Casascius physical bitcoins, in particular the funded ones that were sold from 2011-2013. They are one of my favorite collector’s items because they are a piece of art that can hold actual bitcoin value. Physical bitcoins should always have value because they have a history, were limited in number, and retain some real world connection for people who are not quite sure how cryptocurrency works (they would rather hold something tangible).

Casascius coins. Source:

In that previous post, I wrote that I'm not interested in unfunded or redeemed Casascius coins. If they are not funded with actual bitcoin, then the plain tokens have zero value to me.

How much my attitude changes when I see a Kialara physical bitcoin! Casacius was the first and I believe it is still the most valuable physical bitcoin to collect. But Kialaras are the finest bitcoins tokens ever created. What is the difference? I expect a Casascius coin to be funded, so it’s a physical collector’s item that comes with BTC. But a Kialara is a work of art so elegant, and its vault is so impenetrable, that few people ever load theirs with bitcoin (though it has an address and can be used as a physical wallet).



In 2014, I was fortunate to buy an original Kialara coin directly from the artist and creator, Max Mellenbruch. He only made 2500 of them and mine has a low serial number. (Like my 2011 Casascius bitcoin, this Kialara bitcoin is in a storage vault many miles from where I live, so please don’t try looking for it under my mattress.)

With Kialara, Max Mellenbruch made the most beautiful crypto token ever produced in any form. As Emily Faber wrote for Coindesk in 2016:

“Not all physical bitcoins are created equal, and none may be more prized among collectors than the creations of Kialara,” which appear “more at home in an art gallery than on a computer desk.”

It probably helps that the creator is an artist.


A Kialara bitcoin is like a miniature bank vault. Mellenbruch created each token by combining a series of different layers, each of which gives the design a new dimension. Inside is the coin with its online bitcoin address, protected by dragons, lions, and colorful gears. Taken together, the effect is stunning, like the inner workings of an antique clock with iconic imagery and modern bitcoin technology. The whole design is encapsulated within a case of glass and steel.


There is a site called Uberbills which has a ledger of most physical bitcoins. Many Casascius coin owners have registered their tokens on Uberbills and you can search any of these BTC addresses on the site to find its balance. When I see a Casascius coin for sale, I always check its history on Uberbills. But even though Kialaras also have a place on that site also, very few owners have ever registered their coins on Uberbills. Last time I looked, there were no more than 3-4 of the original 2014 Kialaras listed. That means that the remainder of the 2500 have not done so.

Why not? There is a sticker on the Kialara coin which is supposed to be removed once the coin is funded. Funding it is simple, since the address is visible from the outside, without breaking into the Kialara’s vault. And yet, the few Kialara coins which have been sold always seem to display that sticker. It indicates that most have never been funded.


From the moment I received my Kialara, I knew I would never fund it. The design is too beautiful to be mutilated. And the only way to open one of these tokens is by destroying its built-in case.

If you’ve ever worked with machinery, perhaps you’ve used a thread-locking adhesive called Loctite. It is very strong stuff that holds things in place for a long period. For example, if there are screws in a mechanical object that vibrates, the screws will pop loose over time. But Loctite is an adhesive that holds them in place, preventing them from shaking loose.

Loctite Red, a trademark of the parent company Henkel.

And Kialara coins use Loctite Red, which is the strongest stuff. Lower-strength kinds of Loctite are used when you may need to open a piece of machinery for maintenance or repair, but Loctite Red is made for permanent sealing of threaded fasteners. You cannot loosen Loctite Red except by exposing it to heat of 500 F (260 C) degrees. And failing that, the only other way to open one of these things is by breaking in. You could do so by drilling or smashing part of the Kialara case to get in. The company itself posted a "how to" on Bitcointalk forum some time ago, using a hammer to crush the glass and get to the key, also recommending against using power tools. Of course, destruction would ruin any collector’s value.

The point is: once the coin address is funded with BTC, you cannot get it out without forcibly opening this coin and its built-in case. You can fund the address because that is visible; simply send it some BTC. But you cannot spend that BTC without the key, which is inside this artistic contraption. Since smashing the case would ruin the coin, most people never fund their Kialara tokens. I will never fund mine with any value, because I’d like to see it survive, and loading it provides the temptation to spend it someday.


The physical token itself is a piece of crypto collector’s history. It’s not bitcoin, but it’s the artistic pinnacle of a bitcoin collector’s item. And that’s probably why collectors are eager to pay thousands of dollars for a Kialara on the rare occasions that one comes onto the market. These tokens are an example of supreme craftsmanship.


All images from unless otherwise credited in the text.

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Phisical coin is my honest view is not as safe as electronic version of currency. Because as you mentioned fake one is also in market. I couldn't figure it out how physical coin is linked with block chain to maintain record about owner.

The coin/token merely has a BTC address on it and a key that is hidden inside, only visible once you open it.

It is interesting the fact that they create a physical BTC but I think it is still more secure and reliable to invest in the digital being, many people would try to falsify those physical currencies which is total loss

There's some evidence of counterfeit Casascius coins from a years years ago, but they were not done well. It would be very difficult to re-create the Kialara contraption. The volume of these sold is so small that faking them probably is not worth anyone's time. But other tokens certainly could be faked.

Kialara coins so adorable and unique design indeed physical BTC i never see before. Can you tell me how much worth currently & if have ability to take coins form web or another sites?
Nice to hear Uberbills allow to sell Kialara coins someday.

Last time I looked, there were no more than 3-4 of the original 2014 Kialaras listed.

But guess currently increase more Kialara listed than 2014. Spent 3.5 years since those days.

This one sold recently on eBay. It was not funded with any BTC value. I think I bought mine for around $120 four years ago, so these definitely are valuable to collectors.


The thing I love about (physical) coins is the statement they make about the era in which they were minted. They say so much about history - I've learned things I'd never have imagined researching without first wanting to understand what a coin was telling me

Hi @donkeypong, Yep I already read about Casascius physical bitcoins through your previous post and but never heard before about Kialara physical bitcoin until see this blog. I prefer to see some interesting and valuable worth of Kialara coins than casascius coins. Kialara coins wanna most impressive designs indeed token than previous one.

Kialaras are the finest bitcoins tokens ever created. What is the difference? I expect a Casascius coin to be funded, so it’s a physical collector’s item that comes with BTC. But a Kialara is a work of art so elegant, and its vault is so impenetrable, that few people ever load theirs with bitcoin (though it has an address and can be used as a physical wallet).

I see and found most valuable things of Kialara physical bitcoin through your ideas. It's really impressive to me and sure others. Can you provide me how will we buying Kialara coin if have some way. Thanks for sharing.

It is a beautiful design. These come up on rare occasions for sale by/to collectors. I keep an eye on Bitcointalk forum and eBay. One was on the market a couple of weeks ago (I screenshotted it in another reply on here), but it was the only one I've seen for sale recently.

That is absolutely incredible. I love coin collecting, I just shared a post a few days ago about my own coin collection, mostly US coins that are old, as well as some ancient roman coins, and a few crypto physical coins. But this coin/token is amazing!

  ·  last year (edited)

What a surprise . Just like I heard about Casascius bitcoin for the first time from your recent post, I hear about Kialara bitcoin from you for the first time as well. I would compare Casascius physical bitcoins to certified physical gold. Actualy, I believe it has a much bigger value than bitcoin itself, since the supply count is much less than digital bitcoin has.

In 2014, I was fortunate to buy an original Kialara coin directly from the artist and creator, Max Mellenbruch.

Just being in crypto that early is fortunate enough. You are right, Kialara bitcoin is work of art creation. And perhaps if you funded Kialara with some actual bitcoin, by not wanting to destroy it, it forces you to keep your bitcoin until it’s really worth breaking it. It may actually help someone not to panic in times like we have today and we still may be going through in the near future. It may help to hold on to it through times when everyone is selling due to panic, when there is a blood on the street .

Funding one of these would be a true test of one's strength and willpower!

Funding one of these
Would be a true test of one's
Strength and willpower!

                 - donkeypong

I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

That is one amazing piece of art. How much did it cost you, if you dont mind me asking. Very curious :))
But seriously, this is so cool, to have something very unique and rare

Basically $8,000

I meant back in a day, just Googled, says $129, thought would be more

Yes, that's about what I paid in 2014.

Interesting how much would be now, especially since it is limited edition

That would be a funded one. Most are not funded.

Cryptocurrency in physical form becomes something of value to be collected with the beauty of a form of high artistic taste and exclusive because of its different shape with each piece. I think, there must be other added values that make physical crypto like Kialara and Casascius more valuable.

Yes and they were/are produced in limited quantity, which probably contributes to their value.

The name of Kialara and Casascius looks very strange but cool, like hearing the name of an object from another planet.

I remember your post about casacius a few months ago but wow don't these look great! You can easily see the craftsmanship and love that where put into creating one of these! Do you know if there are any videos on the creation of one? The process of making one of these?

There might be. You could check their site, and also on Youtube.

When we have physical coins funded and value with a crypto, do their values rise and fall with the price of the cryptocurrency too?

Yes, definitely. They trade for a premium above the BTC value, so add a bit more to 1 BTC or however much is loaded on there. It's like buying a silver or gold $1 coin that's minted by a government. The government guarantees it's worth $1 in currency, but the spot value of the precious metal it contains is probably much higher.

For example, a one ounce silver coin would contain that much value in silver, say $15, plus the collector value of the coin itself, which may mean that collectors trade them at a dollar or two above the metal's spot price (just as a loaded BTC coin would be worth at least as much as the BTC value and slightly more for the collector value). In the case of Kialaras, people are paying over $1,000 above the BTC price, but few are funded, so it's mostly a commemorative art item.

Hello Friend how are you? your posts put me to investigate and learn new things, I did not know of these coins just for collection, this physical version of the cryptocurrency has double value: as currency and as a work of art.
No other can be more appreciated among collectors than the creations of Kialara, because each case is collectible and has beauty on its own.
They are very beautiful in my opinion the purpose of owning physical bitcoins varies, while some use metal coins for their market value, others want to own them as a real piece that represents a part of the history of technology. Thanks for this valuable information, the images are beautiful

Greetings from Venezuela!

My goodness these coins are like pieces of art. I am a rookie to cryto currency my son peaked my interest in the summer. I really appreciate these post so I can educate myself on all aspects of cryto's. I believe Bitcoin in going to be the new normal. Thanks for sharing.

He did a great job with these. I was going to buy one of each denomination when BTC was two dollars. Damn I missed the boat. What a collectors item an unspent original would be worth now! In addition to the actual btc value.

  ·  last year (edited)

Could shoulda woulda. I'm thankful to have a few physical BTC coins, but of course wish I'd bought a lot more. We probably should be getting more of them now.

What a stunningly beautiful piece of art and craftsmanship. It's most beautiful than many very rare hand-crafted swiss watches.

I like this phrase very much:

“A craftsman knows in advance what the finished result will be, while the artist knows only what it will be once he has finished it.”

I'll read your Casascius post right now.

(Perhaps you'd want to change "don’t dry looking for it" to "don’t try looking for it").

Thanks for the comment and the fix.

howdy there @donkeypong..this is an amazing post, I didn't know this type of thing existed until this post!

@donkeypong quite frankly I'll never fund it too if I were you, it's just too beautiful to be tampered with. Who knows how valuable it'll be in the future too

I like your post

Beautiful design, and indeed holds something real that increases the value of beauty because it has added pride.

I was reminded of the film The Greatest Showman. Hugh Jackman as (P. T. Barnum) told Rebecca Ferguson (as Jenny Lind) that he chose Jenny in his circus show because Jenny was a real show, in contrast to previous shows that were too filled with fantasy stuff.

Yes, the beautiful something that tangible is a truly art.

Thanks for your sharing @donkeypong

Buena publicación de sumo interés para los lectores...

From the moment I received my Kialara, I knew I would never fund it.

This is really amasing thanks for sharing with us.

This is the bitcoin embodied in a coin that can be touched so I see it seems to me also like a letter from those pokemon but more updated with good design and value

Carrying one of these in your pocket should be incredible I see one that says 25 bitcoins esp is a lot of money and carry one of this in your pocket should be incredible
I think I would have one or several of these maybe many would not mind having those virtual coins in our hands and go and buy something with them

Although I believe that virtual money such as bitcoin or different cryptocurrencies will be in the future everything will be digital money

I love them the first time I see them and I think I want one that you have one of these are unique

That looks so amusing to look at. I hope that the value of that will grow through out the years. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. May you have a great week ahead!

Given the electronic nature of digital currencies, physical bitcoins may seem to be a paradox – yet the market remains a thriving niche for collectors and enthusiasts.

Indeed, the purpose of owning physical bitcoins varies. While some use the coins to create a dialogue about cryptocurrency, others want to be able to hold and collect what they see as an actual piece of the technology's history.

But not all physical bitcoins are created equal, and none may be more prized among collectors than the creations of Kialara, a project that has set itself apart for intricate designs that may look more at home in an art gallery than on a computer desk.

Several entities, including the now-defunct Casascius coins, have been involved in the production of physical bitcoins over the years, but Kialara differs from other physical bitcoins in that the more common circular design is encased within a bar, bringing to mind the idea of a collector's case around a physical coin representation.

That's strange that they would make such a beautiful product that can only be used when it's destroyed. It seems like they would want to make it so the address could be accessed without breaking it. At least it's pretty and you can hopefully sell it later (if you want to) for a profit... without even funding it.

It is so hard to predict the exact fashion of the crypto market due to its being so unstable. in only some pump or sell off, the market actions significantly and this makes crypto an interesting asset to make investments and exchange. if you recognize how the marketplace behaves and know how to play this game then you may earn massive due to its volatility. steem alternatively become so promising and i am so excited what steem will bring us inside the future:

great writing

This Physical Bitcoin hase been gifted for free to many stars by Matthew Roszak in Los Angeles.

This is my first time seeing the word "Kialara Coin" am googling it right away to understand better first.

Friend, how are you? the truth I had not heard of them before but I was impressed with the design they have are very well made and what I read and I can understand each of these pieces that are made has a different design

I think these pieces are worth the value they have, they are incredible. They appear to me as some coins of the future. Can you imagine paying with any of these?

I see it as you say is like the physical impression of bitcoin for those people who do not believe in virtual money have these impressions in physical realty beautiful you were lucky to buy one of these I think I would like to have them is because they are beautiful

I love physical coins as usual. However, Physical bitcoin is really amazing and interesting to me. I feel physical coin is more safer than online. I feel so kind to see the original physical bitcoin that I would like to touch them physically one day.

  ·  last year (edited)

Some people cannot contain in their thoughts about what digital currency is but once they see a physical bitcoin like this type of "wallet" on which they can hold, then they get some of the idea on how to handle and store bitcoins @donkeypong
But this artwork is too beautiful to get dismantled after funding it to get the keys so it is sometimes better to keep it as a souvenir or maybe as a gift for a friend in Bitcoin.

thanks brother You're a lot better posted I can teach a lot about your post All your posts are pretty much beautiful

Wow that really is a high-quality crafted piece. The presentation in the case is beautiful and if I were to ever get one, I'm pretty sure I'd do the same as you and not actually fund it. Thanks for sharing, I didn't know these things existed, and really are a wonderful collector's piece.

Wow, this piece is amazing, i live the design, am sure the texture also will be great... Definitely the price will skyrocket too.. Thanks for sharing this

Well it looks cool somewhat.

Lucky you!
Kialara looks so colorful and fine. I'm amazed by its supreme craftsmanship.

What a way to sell a Kialara. Honestly, without having seen one in person, the way you described it, makes me want to buy one.

  ·  last year Reveal Comment

Your comment was entertaining, but not in a good way.