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NYC park becomes bitcoin trading floor

In what was billed as the first open-air marketplace for bitcoin, a small group of traders gathered in a New York City park on Monday to trade the digital currency.

May 8, 2013 at 7:28 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 10, 2021 at 10:43 a.m. UTC

Bitcoin is synonymous with the online world, but some New York traders believe there’s a place for face-to-face bitcoin interaction.

In what was billed as the first open-air marketplace for bitcoin, a small group of traders gathered in a New York City park on Monday to trade the digital currency.

The event was organized by bitcoin enthusiast Josh Rossi, who believes the online methods for buying and selling bitcoins have become too expensive and time consuming.

“If I want to buy a hamburger, I want to be able to sell my bitcoins and get my money immediately so I can buy that hamburger,” Rossi told the New York Times.

After a slow start and some arguments about how the process should work, some of the men gathered in Union Square Park began shouting out prices for buying and selling bitcoins.

Rossi himself made the first trade, offering $20 for a piece of a bitcoin (a whole coin was trading at $120 at the time). The currency was transferred to Rossi’s bitcoin account using smartphones.

A number of other deals took place over a couple of hours, with the final trading volume estimated at about 10 bitcoins, or around $1,200.

Rossi says he plans to repeat the event -- dubbed Project Buttonwood in reference to the early days of the New York Stock Exchange -- next Monday.

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