It was a dream come true for many.
In March this year, I was in Los Angeles to attend the inaugural Coin Summit, an event that brings together more than 200 bitcoiners, tech-savvy business people and enthusiasts.
In the midst of the festivities, I decided to check into a US-based bank account, which I had opened with a bitcoin wallet for the first time just two months prior.
The transaction was made at the request of a US tax official who wanted to know if I would have to pay any tax in the country.
“I was thinking about how easy it would be to buy bitcoin, and the fact that I could get a very simple transaction on the spot,” I said.
In fact, I hadn’t thought about that before.
But my bank was not only one of the largest US financial institutions, it is also one of many that have been instrumental in the US financial system.
I was also one with a network of people in the bitcoin community who are part of the bitcoin ecosystem, the most notable of whom is the founder of Coin Center, which has grown to include more than 1,000 bitcoin enthusiasts, developers, entrepreneurs and businesses.
The bank I used to open my account was a US affiliate of American Express, which had been the first financial institution in the world to accept bitcoin and also had a reputation for being an active investor in digital currencies.
I could then use my US account to purchase $30 worth of bitcoin, which was $6,000 when I bought it on March 15.
Since the exchange rate had dropped to about $7 per bitcoin, I could convert the amount into sterling and sell it for $12.
“What if I were to sell it on my US bank, but the exchange would be at $1.20, which is a lot more?”
I asked, and suddenly, my dream came true.
My US bank had offered to convert the $30 in bitcoin to sterling, which, in this case, meant $2.80 in exchange for sterling.
I didn’t want to lose the money, but if I didn, what would I do with it?
A few days later, I received an email from Coin Center explaining the situation.
“You have been approved to receive your $30,” the email read.
“The exchange rate is 1.20 dollars per bitcoin for your transaction.”
A few minutes later, Coin Center replied, “Please be advised that we are currently accepting bitcoin for purchases at US banks, and therefore cannot convert your Bitcoin into sterling.”
I didn´t understand what they were talking about, but I was confused.
How could a bank exchange a $30 and then take it back for $2?
“It was not a bad idea to convert,” I replied, and I started thinking about my options.
“Should I sell the $2 of bitcoin?
Sell it back to my bank?
Or should I sell it to someone else?”
The next day, I called Coin Center and asked them to explain what had happened.
I asked them how the exchange had changed in the past six months.
They told me that it had been “a great experience” and that they would be “doing everything in our power to support bitcoin adoption in the United States”.
I was worried about the loss of my money, so I asked if I could pay my bills in bitcoin, to which Coin Center assured me that the bank would handle that, as well.
In November this year I returned to the bank with a fresh $30 of bitcoin.
“Thank you so much for your help,” Coin Center said in an email.
“We are happy to assist with any transactions you might need.
We appreciate your patience while we assess this transaction and determine if it is legal to process on your account.”
The exchange rate was now at about $5.15 per bitcoin.
A few weeks later, after I had paid back the exchange fee, I sold the $5 worth of Bitcoin to another US bank and started my new life as a bitcoiner.
The experience has been a tremendous learning experience.
I had been waiting for my first exchange transaction to take place, but now I was able to make my dream come to life.
I have learned a lot about the digital currency and the technology behind it, but also I have become more aware of the legal and regulatory implications.
I am now in a position to be a better bitcoiner, and also to make sure that my bank is compliant with the regulations, as they are not in compliance with bitcoin regulations in many places.
The US dollar is still the US’s official currency, and a lot of money goes into the banking system, especially for businesses.
But with bitcoin, there is no need to pay the bills in dollars, which means that people can use their dollars to buy goods and services in other countries and in other currencies.
If bitcoin is accepted in a country that is not an official currency by the government, this means that