Bitcoin In-use #03: Buying bitcoin in a retail store

There is a bitcoin retail store in Hong Kong! The store, operated by ANX, is tucked away in Sheung Wan, in an old Hong Kong district where you can still find trolley buses and colonial houses. The store, almost a hole in a wall, occupies a shop in an inconspicuous mall where you can find tenants like travel agencies, family owned restaurants, and a jockey club outlet (one of the travel agency actually accepts bitcoins). It is not the most glamorous of places, but it is very exciting for me! Have you seen any other retail stores selling bitcoin?!

This is how the store front looks like.

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I am aware of ANX retail store through their publicity effort a while ago, which was circulating in the Hong Kong community. Quite impressive for the nascent and highly global community.

There are two front desk assistants in the store, and let me call them Freddy and Jenny. The store was new when I visited. And Freddy had only learned about bitcoin for five days. Naturally, I sensed hesitation when I said I wanted to try buying HK$100 worth of bitcoin. Buy Jenny, having about half a year experience with bitcoin, quickly come to the assist. I waited as Jenny helped Freddy through the steps of verifying my account information. I would have needed to register for an account with ANX, with my id and all, but I had already done that with them online before I came visit.

In not more than five minutes, Jenny showed me the numbers, and she smiled for the camera.

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That is, for HK$100, they could sell me 0.01778354 bitcoins. This moment felt like a typical moment at a money changer, but with just slightly more paper work.

Freddy and Jenny then get back to the computer to confirm the trade, and handed me the receipt.

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I had expected that I will receive the bitcoins in my wallet. But instead, it will be deposited into my web account. The whole process took about 10 minutes, but can possibly be completed in 5 by trained hands. There was more paperwork than I thought is reasonable, as money changers do not require IDs if the value of the exchange is below a threshold. But it is the first retail store of a highly scrutinized artifact–so kudos to the pioneers!