What Would Bitcoin Look Like As Paper Money?

What Would Bitcoin Look Like As Paper Money?
Arts & Culture

Eye-catching designs from artist Matthias Dörfelt translate the digital currency into physical form

Matt Vitone
  • 28 june 2017

As Bitcoin continues to become more widely used, one designer is asking the question: What would a Bitcoin actually look like? Drawing inspiration from this hypothetical, Los Angeles-based artist Matthias Dörfelt has created ‘Block Bills,’ a project which aims to create a visual representation of the digital currency using a unique code that Dörfelt wrote.

The code renders stunning visual designs by identifying 64 randomly chosen blocks from the Bitcoin blockchain and using each block’s unique hash number (which represents the identity of each block). The result is a bill that features many similar elements to our paper currency, but with details that are unique to Bitcoin.

The number in the upper right corner, for instance, isn’t the value of the Bitcoin, but rather its transfer volume, which represents how many transactions were stored in the block during a given amount of time. The signature on each bill, meanwhile, isn’t the name of any known treasurer, but is instead signed ‘Satoshi,’ the anonymous entity that created Bitcoin.


In the center of each bill sits a shadowy human-like figure, which is unique to each bill as determined by Dörfelt’s code. In a statement to Co.Design, the artist said that each figure could be seen as a celebration of the bill’s worth, or as something potentially darker.

“From a technology standpoint, the blockchain, which was invented through bitcoin, is one of the most groundbreaking things that came along in the past couple years,” Dörfelt said. “Bitcoin itself is worth so much money, and it’s so important nowadays that it was something on my mind.”

Matthias Dörfelt

+arts & culture

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