It’s Christmas Eve, 2071.
Snow drifts down across the grounds of your family’s estate as your grandson and his eldest boy add some final decorations to a Christmas tree.
“I have a very special present for you, Son. Sit down, let’s take a moment.”
With his large hands outstretched, the boy’s father leans forward, beckoning his boy to take hold of an old cloth-wrapped parcel.
“I want to give this to you tonight. Just like my father did for me, and his father -your Great Grandfather- did for him.”
With firelight reflecting in his bright and wide eyes, the boy carefully takes the surprisingly heavy item in his small hands and kneels down. He inspects the time-worn material with interest before setting it on the hearth. “What is it, Father?”
“Open it up, see for yourself!” The man laughs, motioning for his boy to proceed.
Carefully peeling away the folds of cloth, the boy’s eyes are immediately drawn to the beautiful patina of a brass faceplate carrying an inscription of your family name.
“What you see before you, Son, was made by your great grandfather fifty years ago. He used it to secure our family’s legacy. You could say that this was the key, quite literally, to us having the life that we have now. This, son, was your great grandfather’s SeedMint.”
With mouth agape, the boy fires back. “Oh my! This is great grandpa’s SeedMint?!”
Stiffening his lip and drawing a breath, his father responds. “No, my darling boy. This was great grandpa’s SeedMint… but it belongs to you now. And at some point in the future, if you take good care of it, you may give it to your son too.”
THE MAKINGS OF A MACHINE
"I come from a mechanical engineering background, travelling all around the world and repairing old stuff. The company I was working for was a military supplier, so you get used to high quality, long durability designs. I would say that’s part of the design process for this because in the military, your equipment is not allowed to break."
Of the limited physical objets d’art that I have within my modest but beloved collection of Bitcoin paraphernalia, none are as likely to either stand the test of time or convey as much gravitas and functional meaning as my son’s SeedMint – the one that I’m looking after for him.
Having stumbled upon SeedMint’s maker on Twitter a few months back, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to secure a first edition of this beautiful seed stamping rig. I knew right away when I saw it that it could well be one of the very few physical Bitcoin possessions that might stay in my family for a couple of generations or more – and who knows, perhaps even generate the kind of conversation I imagined above.
The SeedMint project was born in the mind of its eponymous engineer creator who, when trying to figure out a way to secure Bitcoin backups on metal for himself and his brother, hit on the idea of creating a unit solid enough to act as its own small anvil to produce a sufficiently high-quality stamp.
"My brother wouldn’t leave me alone about Bitcoin. I told him I wasn’t interested in money – He said yeah, if you’re not interested in money then you have got to take a look at Bitcoin."
As the brothers chatted on the phone — perhaps tapping into a shared cosmic consciousness of design inspiration — they wondered whether steel washers could be used as cheap and easily sourceable consumable parts to solve the problem. Suprisingly, neither of them were aware at the time of the Blockmit or Safu Ninja solutions to the same problem, but had hit on their own takes of those concepts.
MAKING AN IMPRESSION
SeedMint went down to his workshop to hammer out a first iteration on his CNC machine. Having tinkered with some initial designs, it didn’t take too long for him to find the product’s final form. And what a beauty it is, bearing a customisable front face plate made with 50-70 year old brass that’s just ripe for artistic collaborations at some point.
Whilst SeedMint is now toying with the idea of being able to produce more units, he’s keen to point out to me that the project is now open-source and has its own repo on Github. His hope is that people will take the designs and get the jigs made at their own local machine shops.
When I spoke with him recently, he had just returned from the Bitcoin Zitadelle Summer Sun & Satoshi Conference where he had recharged his life’s batteries on some high energy Bitcoiners like Der Gigi and Andrea Antonopoulos. He speaks of his fondness for being around like-minded people and recounted the time a year or two ago when he first came across the Ein Und Zwan Zig podcast (German for ‘21’) hosted by Gigi.
"I remember coming home that day and talking to my wife and I said: darling, you remember how we always ask ourselves where are all the normal people? Well, I believe they are all bitcoiners."
He’d found his tribe. And having taken his wife with him to the conference, she agreed.
Since hanging out at the conference, he and the new friends he found in “Saotshi’s Kitchen” have joined together their own Ring of Fire, and he is now looking to engage his creative engineering capabilities in other ways in the space and contribute more.
If the SeedMint’s first project is anything to go by, we can expect more great things to come from this chap. Bullish on Bitcoiners.