Purchasing Bitcoins on Wall Street

What is it like to buy Bitcoin in NYC at the Bitcoin Center?

It was around 8pm on a mildly warm fall end of september night as I casually strutted down Wall Street on my way over to the Bitcoin center located next to the New York Stock Exchange. During the day Wall street tends to be bustling with a combination of tourists, wall street trader type people and everyone in between, yet at night the hustle and bustle of one of the city’s finance hubs dies down and you’d be hard pressed if you didn’t know any better to realize that in front of your eyes lay a building that billions of dollars are run through each and everyday in trading activity. Yet for me another I was on a mission to accomplish another type of trade. Not one in the traditional finance, involving high flying multi billion dollar companies. But to purchase a some crypto coins for my bitcoin wallet. It seemed fitting that this would be located right next to the new york stock exchange at night. By day traditional finance reigned supreme, however once the cover of darkness took place the typical wall street crowd dispersed while I was embarking upon my own journey into finance with the goal of beginning to accumulate another financial instrument, bitcoin.

Bitcoin Center NYC

Bitcoincenter holds meetings for enthusiasts, located next to the NYSE

Bitcoincenter holds meetings for enthusiasts, located next to the NYSE

I had been to the wall street bitcoin center before a handful of times before, maybe 2 or 3 just to scope out the scene. I was on a mission to purchase $50 dollars of bitcoins on this particular night. Not a lot of money overall but a stepping stone. When I arrived there were about 40 or so people in the room. A large wide open space with a few tables setup, high ceiling, some old miners on display for sale and a presenter talking about getting major retailers and brands to begin accepting bitcoins for purchases. In a matter of moments the presentation had ended and the auction had begun. The announcer stated that offers for buys and sells of bitcoins would be accepted. One seller’s price was $405, and at that point the fair market value of the bitcoin was hovering around $375. Obviously I would consider paying a fair premium above market value for immediate access to a bitcoin but it seemed too high. A buyer was willing to pay $385. After about 5 minutes or so the seller dropped their asking price to $400. Still no takers at that level. I was scanning the room trying to size up who were potential sellers that I could buy from to accomplish my mission. I didn’t want to leave empty handed, after all I had come all the way to Wall St. to buy some bitcoins.

Sending money is as easy as a loading up your favorite wallet app & loading the QR reader

Sending money is as easy as a loading up your favorite wallet app & loading the QR reader

It begun to dawn on me that my best bet would be to trying to strike a transaction individually…

We decided against the auction style selling in the center would hold a favorable price term for me. This really is a Peer 2 Peer decentralized currency, and my first transaction would reflect it.  There was also a table setup with drinks so I made my way over to get a scotch and soda and took a seat waiting passively for opportunity to knock. Sure enough it did. Within an earshot right next to me I saw a small group of a few people discussing buying at $385 with a seller. Perfect, it was a slight premium that seemed fair enough to pay.

Negotiating the Bitcoin Price

I got up and told the same seller I’d be willing to take the deal, however I was only looking for $50 dollar worth of BTC not an entire coin. This was acceptable to him. So I took out my $50 from my wallet in one hand and my iphone with my bitcoin blockchain app loaded in another. I also switched to my iphone calculator calculate the exact amount of bitcoin I would recieve. The calculation was 50/385 (50 dollar purchase price / 385 price to be paid for a bitcoin ) equaling 0.12987 which would be the amount of bitcoin I would receive. Back to the blockchain btc app I went, I hit the screen to get to my wallet address, pulled up the QR code and his phone scanned the QR code over my iphone and almost instantly the BTC was transferred into my wallet. Once I saw the transaction confirmed in my wallet, I was the proud new owner of $50 dollars worth of bitcoin. I forked over my $50 at that point to the seller thanked him and left the center with my mission accomplished and headed back.

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