Mike Caldwell, the creator of the highly popular physical Bitcoins called Casascius, recently received a letter from FinCen (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), part of the United States Treasury Department, claiming his activity falls within the “money transmitting” classification.
This means that, to keep minting physical crypto-coins on behalf of his customers, he would have to get quite a few state and federal licenses. Taking into account the complexity of the process, Caldwell halted all Casascius’ orders, Wired reports. However, he defends the idea that he doesn’t transmit money, rendering FinCen’s warning inapplicable in this case.
The creator of Casascius simply takes Bitcoins and mints them in the physical world without accepting any US dollars or other fiat currency for the service. So far, he minted 90,000 BTC, which are nearly worth $80 million at the current exchange rate.
He gets the BTC via the internet from his clients and then he creates the coins, sending the Casascius to the customer via the US Postal Service. The only thing the coin carries is the digital key that allows the client to access the BTC. Caldwell, who takes a fee of equivalent to $50 on each coin, prefers to see his creations as collectibles, unlike the federal government.
Currently, Caldwell is finishing up his last few orders and trying to find a way out with his lawyer, but he fears the case could mean the end of the Casascius coins.