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Coins 2017

Foreword about the project

A unique collection of commemorative bitcoin-backed coins is produced every year under the auspices of Paralelní Polis and Institute of Cryptoanarchy. The coins constitute a valuable collection as the product of hard work of seven talented people from various fields who have contributed their craft and artistic skills to the project.

The project of silver coins first appeared in 2017, mainly as a manifestation of respect for those persecuted for their beliefs in digital freedom. Ross Ulbricht, whose incredible life story was presented by his mother Lyn Ulbricht at the third annual Hackers Congress in 2016, was chosen for the motif of the first coin.

The Ross Ulbricht coin 2017

Mintage: 100 units
Year of issue: 2017
Diameter: 37 mm
Thickness: 3 mm
Metal: silver
Fineness: 999/1000
Version: 50 pcs proof, 50 pcs mat


The Ross Ulbricht case

The idea behind the first coin stems from one of the biggest cybercrime trials of the century. William Ross Ulbricht, a forty-four-year-old founder of the Silk Road freemarket, was convicted of all seven charges raised against him and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in 2015. In 2017 the conviction was upheld with additional 40 years imprisonment. The case raised several important questions regarding state control or the systematic use of illegal coercive methods by the state and foreshadowed some destructive effects of the state control of internet freedom.

During the trial, the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution which ensures the right of people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures was violated. The defendant was thus deprived of his fundamental right to protect his personal freedom and property. Furthermore, the principle of proportionality was not observed. According to this principle, the severest penalties should be imposed only where the most serious violent crimes have been committed. Such was not the case with Ulbricht.

The motif of the first coin thus pays tribute to Ross Ulbricht who fell victim to the state system and its values that made him an exemplary case for similar cybernetic crimes in the future.

Link to Bitcoin

BitNotes turned out to be a unique device for connecting a piece of art, such as a commemorative coin, with cryptocurrency. Each coin comes with a BitNotes certificate. By this certificate, Paralelní Polis guarantees a nominal value of 0,01 BTC for each coin. 0, 01 BTC is included in the final value of the coin and it is loaded to every coin. The whole process is very well-designed. BitNotes company produces paper notes with common safety features like those on regular circulated bank notes. Each of the notes has its own unique Bitcoin address corresponding with a private key guaranteed by the company. A second key is provided and guaranteed by Paralelní Polis. The important thing is that while Paralelní Polis guarantees the key, we never gain access to the customer’s 0,01 BTC. For that to happen, we would need to know the second half of the code which is hidden under a scratch-off cover on the BitNote. Each BitNote coupon code is unique. First half of the code is visible to anyone as it is hand-carved on the side of the coin.

Štěpán Beránek

  • 2000-2007 – Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Graphics and Drawing, Figural Sculpturing and Coins

„I usually work with human or animal shape on the symbolic, existential and even the expressive level. I work instinctively. I consider it the most natural language of art which is my own. This expression is closely linked with the body – not only the human body but also the Earth as a body. When I was working on the Ross Ulbricht coin, I was mainly interested in the irony of the situation when a dissident is depicted on a coin of an expanding currency. I wanted to express my support for Ross Ulbricht who was according to me unjustly convicted, and thus support the idea of independence from the state system.“


You can find the verification manual here.

How to redeem your coin’s Bitcoin here.

The Julian Assange 2018 Coins here.