We are creating metal challenge coins for all alums. They are a sign of membership in the Media Lab community, and we are interested in exploring other (non financial) uses, for example as a currency for appreciation or gratitude.
No, the chips are just placeholders containing the URL where the actual coins can be requested.
In essence, they are digital representations of the coins. Technically, we create a JSON that contains the certificate information, then sign and hash it, and place the hash on the Bitcoin blockchain.