Litecoin’s third “halving event” – a programmed 50% reduction in the pace of new issuance of the cryptocurrency – is expected on Wednesday.

  • Litecoin Foundation and crypto cold-storage card manufacturer Ballet teased an upcoming sale of 500 collectable cards – fashioned from 50 grams of fine silver and pre-loaded with at least 6.25 litecoin (LTC).
  • The cards will commemorate the blockchain’s third halving event, expected to happen on Wednesday.
  • The sale is expected to take place sometime later in the month, with each card commanding a price of approximately $1,000 – but with a tangible value estimated at around $621.

Litecoin is sometimes referred to as the “digital silver” to bitcoin’s reputation as “digital gold.”

That reference appears to be the basis for a new crypto promotion by Litecoin creator Charlie Lee and his brother Bobby Lee, aiming to capitalize on a sudden surge in interest in the project, thanks to a quadrennial event in the blockchain’s lifecycle known as a “halving,” happening this week.

Bobby Lee is CEO and co-founder of Ballet, a manufacturer of special cards used for “cold storage” or holding crypto offline. And he’s teamed up with his younger brother Charlie Lee, executive director of the Litecoin Foundation, to commemorate the blockchain’s third halving by creating 500 collectible cards made of 99.9% pure silver.

The cards themselves – the silver alone – could carry a value of roughly $40 a card, but they would also be loaded with 6.25 LTC, or $581 worth. They are expected to be sold for about $1,000, which means the premium would roughly represent intangible value to buyers. All proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Litecoin Foundation to further the blockchain’s adoption and development, according to Charlie Lee.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2020 Litecoin cold storage card (Ballet Crypto)

The brothers made the announcement during a Twitter livestream, one week before Litecoin’s expected Aug. 2 halving event.

The litecoin cryptocurrency was created in 2011 as a “fork” or clone of the Bitcoin blockchain, and much like its ancestor, the Litecoin network rewards miners with a predetermined number of coins for successfully mining a block of transactions. That reward (called a “subsidy”) is halved every 840,000 blocks (roughly every four years). The third halving takes place on Wednesday and reduces the current 12.5 litecoin (LTC) subsidy to 6.25 LTC. The original subsidy was 50 LTC.

(Bitcoin, the original blockchain, launched in 2009, is expected to undergo its fourth halving sometime next year. The halvings are programmed to happen every 210,000 blocks or roughly every four years).

At some point after the halving event, Charlie Lee will pay at least 6.25 LTC to reimburse miners from one of the oldest and largest Litecoin mining pools, Litecoinpool, who have agreed to send their block subsidies – which will also be 6.25 LTC by then – directly to the blockchain addresses associated with the silver cards, all made of 50 grams of 99.9% pure silver (also known as “999 fine silver”).

This means the cards will be worth at least 6.25 LTC plus the market value of 50 grams of silver which is hovering at just under 80 cents per gram (about $40 per card) at the time of publication.

“It’s on a silver card,” Charlie Lee explained. “So even if litecoin goes to zero, it will still be worth the price of silver.”

Bobby Lee said the collectibles are about the size of a credit card and have a double-layered QR code sticker displaying a litecoin deposit address on the top layer and an encrypted private key (EPK) on the concealed bottom layer. A passphrase to decrypt the private key can be accessed by scratching off a second section located just below the QR code.

The passphrase and EPK can then be submitted to Ballet’s mobile app to decrypt the private key via a bitcoin improvement proposal (BIP) 38 algorithm, according to Bobby Lee.

“This is the magic of the BIP38 industry standard,” Bobby Lee said. “This was invented by Michael Caldwell, the creator of the Casascius coin, 10 years ago.”

The Litecoin commemorative cards go on sale sometime in August after the halving event and will cost about $1,000.

“It’ll be about $1,000,” the Litecoin inventor said. “We might have a few that we auction, like the first 20, 21 or something. We’ll sell the rest at a fixed price,” he added. “Maybe I’ll sign a few of them. We haven’t decided yet.”

At the time of reporting, LTC had appreciated slightly to $92.43 from $91.20 since the brothers’ livestream.