Last week, I was having a cappuccino at Brew Urban Café in Fort Lauderdale's Victoria Park when an acquaintance I knew only as Brian, who is about 40 and was wearing a bright-orange jersey, said hello. His tattooed friend plopped down at the table across from us. The friend opened his laptop and lit a cigarette. I noticed the two guys didn't have any coffee.
They were there to buy Bitcoin.
"It's cryptocurrency," Brian began to explain but was interrupted when their guest strode up -- a slick, 20-something guy wearing jeans, white flip-flops, and a black tank top exposing his buff arms. Let's call him Neo.
I could overhear as the three gentlemen began to talk business. They each slowly shared snippets of personal information, but not enough to reveal their identities. It was like a game of cat-and-mouse as they bantered back and forth.
"What do you do?" Neo asked Brian.
"I was in the dot-com industry and got out in time. "
Neo said he was selling Bitcoins for $700-plus per coin, plus an 8 percent commission fee. Brian shook Neo's hand and passed him a folded stack of $800 in cash. (U.S. dollars, that is. There are no tangible bitcoins.) Neo fiddled with his smartphone, and the tattooed dude, eyeing his laptop, said the transfer had begun.