The process was actually really easy. I didn’t even need a smartphone. The first step is to get a bitcoin wallet. Initially it is empty and has no value.
The paper wallet contains two unique numeric codes. One serves as your public key, which allows you to receive bitcoins. The other serves are your private key, used to spend or send payments. Each code is also transcripted within a corresponding QR code located next to the code for easy transfers using QR scanners. As a backup, I wrote the private key down somewhere safe.
Once I had my paper wallet, I headed to the ATM bitcoin machine.
The machine scans the public key (QR code) on my paper wallet in order to receive money.
I held the QR code directly facing the scanner until the ATM machine verifies that it has knows whose wallet the transaction will be sent to.
Before purchasing bitcoin I checked the current exchange rate first.
Then I picked my preferred language to be displayed and “Buy Bitcoin.”
Since I only wanted a cup of coffee, a smaller amount was better.
Then I inserted cash. The ATM machine keeps track and shows how much is being deposited and to where (my paper wallet).
The cafe is a promoter of cryptocurrencies. I wrote about their motivations in this story.
I passed on the T-shirt but tried a slice of pie.
Then it was time to check out. After presenting the items you want, the barista scans the private key transcripted in the QR code to deduct the final amount from the paper wallet.
It’s intentionally impossible to tell employees from customers. I wrote about the reason for that here.