Announced in June 2013 as ‘Lealana Physical Litecoins’, Lealana entered the market as a friendly competitor to Casascius focusing on Litecoin, the second most popular crypto-currency at the time. In the following months, coin offerings were expanded to offer both .999 Silver Litecoins and Bitcoins. A cheaper 0.1 BTC coin made of brass was also added, directly mimicking the composition and size of Casascius 1 BTC coins. Lealana coins are widely considered as being second to Casascius in both popularity and production quantity.
Lealana LLC is based in Hawaii and run by Noah Luis, better known by his handle ‘smoothie’ on the Bitcointalk.org and Litecointalk.org online forums where a majority of release announcements and customer interaction occurs. The brand has a Hawaiian inspiration, with later coins featuring Hawaiian-style artwork on both the hologram and face, along with a Hawaiian translation of the ‘Strength in Numbers’ motto popularized by Casascius.
Due to regulatory concerns similar to those faced by Casascius, Lealana paused sales for a period. In May 2014, sales resumed under a renewed framework of ‘buyer-funded’ coins. Under this new business model, coins were sold unfunded with a clearly visible ‘BUYER- FUNDED’ printed onto the hologram. These buyer funded coins were delivered to the buyer with no crypto-currency balance, and they are rarely funded at all. As this change was made, Lealana changed the appearance of all coins by printing the first-bits address in green type instead of the normal black. This means that any coins with black text can be seen as the ‘original’ Lealana coins.
A method was devised to allow Lealana to ship pre-funded coins without the ‘BUYER-FUNDED’ marking, while also avoiding any trouble with the established money-transmitting laws. This system required buyers to send the correct amount of BTC or LTC directly to the public key of each individual coin before being shipped out by Lealana once all coins were confirmed to be funded (and Lealana has been directly paid for the ‘empty’ coins). From a legal standpoint, Lealana is only producing and selling ‘collectible tokens’, while still being able to guarantee that these coins are fully funded to their stated denomination. This method could be aptly called ‘supervised funding’.