Here’s the storefront of the Paralelní Polis coffeehouse in Prague. (Paralelní Polis)

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.


A paper wallet printer called Piper. The machine is used to print out a documents that can be used to store and transfer Bitcoins. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

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.


The Bitcoin paper wallet. It’s all you need send and receive Bitcoins. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

Once I had my paper wallet, I headed to the ATM bitcoin machine.


Bitcoin ATM machine, located inside the Paralelní Polis coffeehouse in Prague. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

The machine scans the public key (QR code) on my paper wallet in order to receive money.


Paper wallet and Bitcoin ATM machine. Together at last. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

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.


Bitcoin ATM machine being used to scan the the public key so that it knows who’s wallet to deposit the Bitcoins. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

Before purchasing bitcoin I checked the current exchange rate first.


Live tracker shows the the current exchange rate of Bitcoin to Czech Crowns. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

Then I picked my preferred language to be displayed and “Buy Bitcoin.”


The touchscreen display features an intuitive interface that walks the user through the Bitcoin buying process. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

Since I only wanted a cup of coffee, a smaller amount was better.


Bitcoin ATM interface showing options for amounts to be deposited. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

Then I inserted cash. The ATM machine keeps track and shows how much is being deposited and to where (my paper wallet).


Bitcoin ATM interface displaying how much is being deposited, the conversion rate and the destination (public key). (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

The cafe is a promoter of cryptocurrencies. I wrote about their motivations in this story.


Official Crytpto-Anarchy T-shirts for sale at the front of the Paralelní Polis shop. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

I passed on the T-shirt but tried a slice of pie.


A menu, selection of pastries and plates kept at the service table in Paralelní Polis. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

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.


Barista at Paralelní Polis ringing up a customer’s order. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

It’s intentionally impossible to tell employees from customers. I wrote about the reason for that here.


The food and drinks table at Paralelní Polis. (Tuan C. Nguyen for The Post)

Thanks for reading!