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The hottest new crypto trend: What is the Tungsten Cube?

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·3 min read
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Cubes of tungsten carbide. Photo: Thierry Zoccolan/AFP via Getty Images
Cubes of tungsten carbide. Photo: Thierry Zoccolan/AFP via Getty Images

Over the last week crypto watchers have been abuzz about the new hottest commodity: the Tungsten Cube. No, it’s not a new token, but an “amazingly heavy” ornament, made from aerospace grade tungsten.

Tungsten is a strong and durable material, that is incredibly dense. It is very resistant to corrosion and has the highest melting point and highest tensile strength of any element. Its strength comes when it is made into compounds as pure tungsten is very soft.

According to Sean Murray, director of e-commerce at the Midwest Tungsten Shop, which makes and sells the cubes, the spike in demand has seen orders increase sixfold in just days.

The new 'it' toy typically ranges from 1cm to four inches, however Murray says the shop has even been accepting custom orders, the largest of which is a $20,000 (£14,512) seven-inch cube. 

A four-inch cube will set you back $2,999.99. The shop has sold out of the three-inch size. 

There has also been talk of a special edition 14-inch cube, which would weigh in at more than 1,700 pounds. Coindesk reported that it would be the single-largest tungsten piece Midwest has ever made.

A 4-inch cube will set you back $2,999.99. Image: Midwest Tungsten website
A 4-inch cube will set you back $2,999.99. Image: Midwest Tungsten website

Murray says there has been a lot more interest in the larger cubes generally and that the company was lucky to have stocked up on metals while the raw materials prices were lower than they are now. 

Read more: Hasty digital pound rollout could mean 'weak and fragile systems,' says BoE

The buzz on Twitter (TWTR) means the cubes have sold out on Amazon (AMZN) in the UK. Google (GOOGL) search data suggests interest spiked 95% in the past week. 

The meme has prompted some on twitter to identify as 'cubers'.

The staff at the Midwest Tungsten Shop have been enjoying the commotion over what is usually a small part of their day-to-day business. The company has seen spikes in interest before but nothing like what it is experiencing now.

Google search trends data for the Tungsten Cube. Chart: Google Trends
Google search trends data for the Tungsten Cube. Chart: Google Trends

"We're at max capacity at the moment," says Murray. “It’s exciting to see people light up when they experience it for the first time." 

Murray notes that people in the company have been emailing choice tweets and unboxing videos to each other, joking that a recent Bloomberg headline which reads "Crypto Traders to Blame for Surging Sales of Small Tungsten Cubes" should actually say "to Thank" instead. 

Read more: UK crypto deals surge to $170bn as it steals a march on Europe

“We get to experience tungsten every day and we get used to it. It’s been great having a lot of interest from unexpected places.”

Cubes lined up for shipping. Photo: Sean Murray
Cubes lined up for shipping. Photo: Sean Murray

Murray thinks that part of the reason for the commotion among crypto circles is that people who deal in the digital realm are excited by something that is so physical.

“The appeal is its physicality and its density,” says Murray. “It’s the realness.”

Watch: What are the risks of investing in cryptocurrency?

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