The Bitcoin Whitepaper in Braille

Thanks to the generous support of the Bitcoin community, a Braille version of the original Bitcoin whitepaper will is now available! See below for the original project crowdfunding page and related info.

Project Status

APH has completed the transcription and tactile drawings, and the document is being sent to the production floor for embossing. The source files are available in a GitHub repository for anyone to use. 50 orders were taken for physical copies, and they will be shipped once they’ve been produced.

New & related! I’m starting development work on IcyWallet, a fully accessible Bitcoin cold storage wallet.

Updates

2017-12-13 02:05 UTC: The embossed copies have been received from APH! I’ll be contacting everyone who ordered a copy via email soon to confirm that there haven’t been any changes to your shipping address. I’m also working on gathering shipping supplies and customs forms, and hope to have every copy shipped out within the next few days.

2017-11-30 14:05 UTC: Great news! APH has completed the transcription and tactile drawing work, and the whitepaper is being sent to the production floor. I just signed the final authorization to produce the 50 ordered copies, and so now it’s time for me to pay the bill. I’ll be moving the donated coins shortly and will continue to provide updates as the work wraps up. I’m also waiting on the source files, and will share those as soon as I have them. Edit: I have the files and they’re now in the repo!

2017-11-21 03:16 UTC: I just split the forked Bitcoin Gold coins from the wallet holding the coins for this project and converted them back into Bitcoin (0.00385447 BTC, worth roughly $30 as of this writing). That should cover a few more copies once production begins.

2017-11-16 14:30 UTC: I’ve received confirmation from APH that the transcription work is underway. Once completed and when I have the .brf file (and .pdf of the tactile graphics), I’ll share those promptly. Then the embossing work can begin, and I’ll work to get copies out to everyone who placed an order. Stay tuned for more updates!

2017-11-02 17:21 UTC: Things are moving along! There’s been a little back and forth with APH about the tactile graphics. A few of them (three out of seven, to be specific) don’t technically reveal new information that’s not already in the core text, and so the usual practice in transcription is to omit purely visual supplemental material like that. I’ve requested that all diagrams be rendered as tactile graphics, and I’m just waiting to hear back on what makes the most sense.

2017-10-30 00:10 UTC: We’ve reached 50 orders! The price of Bitcoin is bobbing around (as usual) so I’m going to stop accepting new orders until I have final figures from APH as well as a more precise idea of shipping costs. At that point I may be able to begin accepting additional orders. I’m also expecting to hear back from my contact at APH regarding next steps this week, so hopefully I’ll have a clearer idea of the timeline soon.

2017-10-26 14:36 UTC: The APH is working on finalizing their assessment of diagram conversion (i.e. which can be explained in text vs. which would be best represented with tactile graphics). Once this is complete, the final plan should be in place and the work can proceed.

2017-10-25 11:02 UTC: There have been 22 orders placed so far! I’m expecting to hear back from APH on next steps soon and will continue to provide updates as I hear more.

2017-10-20 18:27 UTC: Just found out that I’ll have the .brf file (which can be opened in Duxbury or Braille 2000), as well as PDFs for the tactile graphics. (And possibly the original graphic files used by the APH’s Roland printer.) I’ve also been told that I’ll hear back about next steps for starting the transcription work early next week. Will update again when I have more info!

2017-10-20 12:59 UTC: Orders are starting to come in! You should receive an email confirmation right after placing an order. If you don’t, let me know.

2017-10-19 20:22 UTC: The order form is now live, so if you need a copy of the whitepaper in Braille, feel free to order one now. I’m still in the process of finalizing the work order with the American Printing House for the Blind, so once that’s finished I’ll have a better idea of how long it will take for the preparation and production work. Of course, I’ll provide updates here along the way.

2017-10-19 16:12 UTC: Thanks for the continued donations! We’re now more than 200% funded, all due to the incredible generosity of everyone in the community who helped out. This is incredible, and I’ve already heard from two blind people on Reddit who will directly benefit from your support.

2017-10-19 10:52 UTC: I’m blown away by everyone’s generosity! I set this up before going to bed last night, and woke up to 112% funding! I don’t know what to say, other than thank you so much for your support. I’m so excited to finalize things with APH and get this work rolling. I’ll share updates here and will get the order form up and running soon.

What follows is the original project page with more info about everything:

Bringing the Bitcoin Whitepaper to Braille

Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin whitepaper has been translated into numerous different languages, making it accessible to so many people across the world. But it has never been transcribed into Braille, leaving blind and visually impaired people unable to read the text directly.

Let’s change that! Together, we can produce a Braille version of the Bitcoin whitepaper and unlock this awesome source of information for those who would love to be able to read it.

The Challenge

I’m working with the American Printing House for the Blind to transcribe the Bitcoin whitepaper into Braille so that it can be pressed, bound, and distributed to any blind or visually impaired person who wants to read a copy. I had hoped to fund this work myself, but the cost turned out to be higher than I expected. Most of the cost is related to the creation of tactile graphics representing the various technical diagrams that appear throughout the whitepaper.

The Goal

Once the transcription and tactile graphic work is complete and Braille copies of the whitepaper are in hand, anyone who needs a copy can just place an order and receive one free of charge. I’ll set up a simple and accessible order form, process the orders, and handle logistics and shipping myself on an ongoing basis.

The Costs

Here’s the quote I received from APH. The up-front preparation costs are:

Transcription $145
Tactile graphic creation $400
Total $545

Production for individual copies should cost about $10.75 each (for embossing and binding). Shipping within the United States is free, though there would likely be shipping costs for other countries.

Your Help

If you’d like to be part of the effort to bring the Bitcoin whitepaper to blind readers, you’re welcome to donate using the Bitcoin address below. At this point I’m just looking for help with the up-front preparation costs, though anything donated in excess would be spent exclusively on producing copies and covering shipping-related costs (packaging materials and international postage).

Donations can be sent to 3BTuJ6eWZwA5FsD2aFnMTtMG7WNwXVhrjd. Your contribution will directly empower blind and visually impaired people with the ability to read the Bitcoin whitepaper in Braille. Your help is sincerely appreciated!

QR code for Bitcoin address 3BTuJ6eWZwA5FsD2aFnMTtMG7WNwXVhrjd

Or, you can donate via PayPal:

Q&A

Why does the Bitcoin whitepaper need to be printed in Braille? Isn’t an audio version good enough?

Blind people read with Braille. Audio is nice, and many blind and visually impaired individuals enjoy using audio to consume information, but it’s not a complete substitute for actual text that can be read. If someone (sighted or not) wants to be able to read the whitepaper, they shouldn’t have to settle for an audio version in lieu of real text.

Can’t you just transcribe this into Braille yourself? Or use a program to do it? Or find someone else to do it cheaper?

It’s hard enough to do an accurate Braille transcription of simple text (the process requires extensive experience and knowledge of specific syntaxes and dozens of contractions). The Bitcoin whitepaper is more of a challenge, since it includes more technical components that require even more training and expertise. The diagrams alone require specialized equipment to render as proper tactile graphics. APH has professionals with the right credentials and tools to produce the very highest quality Braille version of the whitepaper. I think it’s really worth the price.

Will you share the transcribed source file?

Yes, for sure! Once the final document is complete, I’ll place it in a GitHub repository. I don’t foresee the document requiring additional edits or changes, but it will be available for everyone and open to pull requests (in the unlikely event of a transcription error).

Who are you, and why are you doing this?

I’m Adam Newbold. I'm not famous or special; I just found a specific need and want to help address it. As for why: it’s the right thing to do! Bitcoin is about openness and equality. Everyone should have equal access to the technology and all information related to it, regardless of disability.

Other Questions?

Contact me at adam@pug.sh.

Thank you.

Seriously—to all who donated, your help is sincerely appreciated. You’re making a difference by bringing something into existence that’s missing from Bitcoin today. Thank you, again, for your contribution.