Update: May 24, 2018 - The simplest and safest use of these Iotains is to send us your public code, for your own Iota Seed, and we will custom make some coins with that address on the back of the coin. On the front will be the Iota logo and you will be able to distribute these coins so others can send Iotas easily to your account.
We have added a few techniques that make these coins more work than they are literally worth. Uniqueness isn't easy to achieve with any item or thing that is also functional or made in quantity, but that is what we are going for with our coins. Uniqueness is a way to identify things from one another and these Iotains (Iota based coins) are being made using techniques of printing graphic images with real metals as an inexpensive way to avoid casting and have a textured effect. By coincidence these effects accentuate the iota conceptual themes into something more tactile and tangible like a quarter coin.
I have found that by using metals in my printing I can get creative results that have texture as a result of the rusting of steel particles or a greenish patina with oxidation of bronze or copper. These finishes add texture and a relief effect, not unlike what you get with some low-relief metal coins. The printed and oxidized effects of the metals adds a way to unique identifier to iotains that are easy to distinguish from other printing techniques. The end result is that uniqueness should help in identifying the source and therefore the authenticity of any iota coins, iotains, that I make.
We are using real coins and by using a real coin as the base I am taking advantage of the readily available symbolic currencies that are in circulation as chump change in everyday life, nothing exotic. This allows me to find and get coins when I need them in a variety of denominations. I think this matches with the underlying principles of iota in that micro-transactions are feasible and this is an example of that. Personally I like the nickel because of the challenge of printing, with my techniques, on something as small as a nickel. Every other coin, besides the dime and penny is easier to print on because of the larger size. Fifty Cents pieces are the largest and easiest to use but I haven't even tried that yet, too easy.
The historical references to Hobo Nickels adds another dimension to this project. Here is a link to information on the Hobo Nickel. The fun element of making actual coins is also a factor.
Luckily with iota technology I can also assign a value that corresponds to the coins or any value that is requested. That makes this sort of like a game, a game of trust. I don't know how to get around the trust issue, so my only approach to dealing with this is to clearly identify my motives and role in working with iotains. Ideally someone can have me make a coin and then add as much value as they want to it, then give it away to someone. I don't suggest adding too much value because it is by definition a coin, not a bank account. Nonetheless, I think this issue of trust and value can be addressed with security measures that I have not implemented at this stage. Even if I said I was implementing some "Level" of security with seeds, it would not be wise to trust me without some history or technological support for these claims and I do not have anything to offer than my techniques, which are as unique as I can come up with, for now.
The work involved includes not only making the images to go onto the coins, but keeping track of the seeds and values to make sure they work. I think this may be more time consuming than the making of the images in the long run. Asset allocation and seed generation are a job in and of itself, not to mention security methods and outlining how I am going to accomplish this. Keeping the value low on the coins is the only method I can come up with for the coins and therefore the threshold of trust should be very low. I will be making sheets of these and each seed has to correspond to a public QR code and generating and printing these will be an unseen labor that I hope to be compensated for in selling these coins.
I like making stuff and making a coin that is functional and symbolic as an asset of sorts satisfies part of my artistic goals. This is the fun part and hopefully it will be fun for the users of these coins too.
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