The Story of X-SURE Limited Edition Nixie Bitcoin Ticker

Nixie tube is a kind of ion tube that uses the principle of gas nixie discharge. In 1857, German physicist Heinrich Geissler made the first practical use of this phenomenon, inventing the Geissler tube.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, inventors realized that they could extend the discharge glow from Geissler tubes to the cathode, which could then be shaped to limit the nixie. For example, numbers or words can be displayed using a curved wire as a cathode. So the glow tube was born, but it didn’t have a name at that time.

Nixie tubes

In 1955, Burroughs Corp. based in Michigan unveiled its new indicator tube at WESCON in California. They were made of dedicated anodes made of metal mesh, the cathode numbers were etched from thin steel plates rather than hand-bent wires, and the addition of mercury extended the tube’s life by more than 200,000 hours.

That’s when Burroughs Corp’s engineer Saul Kuczynski named it Nixie because he thought successful brand names often had an X in them. These tubes got their distinctive name and began commercial production.


The mass-produced glow tubes were ubiquitous in the late 1950s and 1960s, used in scientific and industrial instruments to display various types of data in glowing numbers, letters and symbols. More than 20 companies around the world were producing and supplying nixie tubes.

Nixie tubes have shown important data during NASA’s lunar landings; Have shown key indicators for controlling nuclear power plants; Directed the rise and fall of share prices on the Wall Street Stock Exchange; During the Cold War, the Former Soviet Union produced a large number of different types of nixie tubes for military and space races.

By the 1970s, LEDs had gradually replaced nixie tubes at a lower cost and in wider use, and by the end of the 1990s, the Soviet Union was the last country to produce nixie tubes, and production was gradually reduced until it was completely discontinued. This orange light has completely withdrawn from the stage of history, dark and dusty in the endless cold tide.

In cold snaps, it’s not just the nixie tube.

With the advent of the new millennium in the 21st century, the cold tide of finance is quietly coming. The financial tsunami that began to emerge in August 2007 hit the world. On September 9, 2008, the financial crisis began to get out of control, a lot of large financial institutions were taken over or closed down. Since the outbreak of the subprime housing credit crisis, investors began to lose confidence in the value of mortgage securities, resulting in a liquidity crisis. Even massive injections of cash by central banks into financial markets have failed to stem the financial chill.

At the same time, the cryptopunks were making their way into history — in November 2008, a man named Satoshi Nakamoto submitted a nine-page paper called 《Bitcoin: A Peer-to-peer Electronic Cash System》.

On January 3, 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto deployed the first open-source code on a mainframe in Helsinki, which was also unusually cold. At 18:15:05, the first bitcoin block was created, accompanied by Satoshi Nakamoto’s derision of the old financial system, which he wrote directly into the block on the front page of 《The Times 》of the day: “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks rescues on January 3, 2009”.

The Times

In the dark of night, when the campfire of stability and ease goes out, a torch of exploration and courage burns.

The faint light of that cold wave called blockchain, shining brightly today.

In reading about the picture of the world established by modern physics, we often encounter not “construction”, but “elimination”, “replacement”, and “destruction” above all. When something new comes to us, we have to be ready for old ideas to be eliminated. We also come to understand that perhaps words that we thought we understood and understood are redefined countless times and that the stability of their meanings is relative. We have coined these words, but we have not given them an unalterable destiny.

Obsolescence is the old thing, advance is the new technology. The nixie tube which has been silent in the cold night for 30 years, will be able to shine again?

We are thinking that maybe all the elimination is only temporary, but there is no better “spatial position” to place and apply it. The Bulls’ No. 23 can jump from the free-throw line for a dunk, and The Wizards’ Michael Jordan can connect with the team. Atlanta’s Dikembe Mutombo wags his fingers throughout the game, and Mutombo under Houston can be a spiritual monument inside and a steadfast complement to Yao. Spacecraft on missions can roar and roar to the depths of space, or quietly guide and inspire every child in a museum, generation after generation, to plant a space dream in their minds. After nearly 30 years of silence, the nixie tube, once a fixture on all devices can be revived with new technology, from being stored in a dark room to being collected on your desktop.


Initially, X-Sure wanted to create a “display device” that would update the price of bitcoin’s 24-hour transactions in real-time. Unlike portable devices such as mobile phones, when we need to pay attention to data, we can just look up and see it.

In the process of preparation, the nixie tube’s unique display mode and warm light deeply attracted our attention. The story behind this warm nixie is even more moving. X-sure finally decided to use the NL5441 nixie tube (The longest-lived nixie tube in history, capable of operating continuously for over 20,000 hours) as the display body, with an LCD screen to assist the display. WiFi link, APP control.

NL5441 Nixie Tube(The longest-lived nixie tube in history, capable of operating continuously for over 200,000 hours)
LCD screen
WiFi link, APP control

The warm orange numbers on the nixie tube have experienced moments of high light and dusty darkness, and they probably never expected to be lit up again. Just as bitcoin has been constantly frustrated along the way, with people leaving and new people coming in.

In the early days of the electronic age, the nixie tube was a testament to how a generation of scientists, with extremely poor infrastructure, were changing the world.

Today, with the pulsation of orange numbers, through time, nixie tube will also see the history of blockchain changing the world.

Each limited number of nixie tubes will travel through a century with little dots of light, coming together on blockchain. With the old way, to complete the new things of praise.

The beam of great light from the last century, lights up the outstanding data of this century!

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