Economy

Bitcoin in South Florida: From Shady Cash Deals to Bitcoin Accounting Firms; Conference This Weekend

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.

See also: Five Weirdest Things I Learned at the North American Bitcoin Conference

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Anthony Cave