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Author Topic: How Do I Sell Bitcoins on the Street?  (Read 1361 times)
spruce
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June 29, 2011, 03:54:47 PM
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Let's say I want to walk around a busy UK city pedestrian area with a big sign saying something like "Buy/Send Bitcoins here." For the sake of argument let's ignore the viability of doing it and assume I'm doing it "for the cause" or to get fresh air and exercise or something.

What would be the best way of doing it, preferably without spending a whole lot of money on equipment? I assume I would need Internet access on the street, and need to buy a light netbook or tablet with relatively long battery life and some kind of pay-as-you-go Internet dongle.

I don't need to be anonymous. I have had photos and videos and my name and the same address online for years, so anyone can check that I am who I say I am (or at least, look and sound an awful lot like him!).

I am not a crypto nerd, and would need to be somewhat safeguarded from a walk-by hacker.

Any ideas?

-----

Here's me on the street with a big sign, by the way. Smiley

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BitcoinPorn
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June 29, 2011, 04:01:28 PM
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Table set up, Netbook, make sure to have a friend around you to just be there with you, as the reality is you'd be trying to be a mobile bank, which to me makes for a super awesome target.   

I would do this near a police station or something that has traffic pass through, but is not necessarily the most high traffic area (I only worry about idiots who would have that mentality of 'ah.. mobile bank, let's rob him').     

Maybe the ideal solution would be yourself and two friends, those two could be buffers with information and helping explaining for anyone who would actually get to you for the final transaction.  Actually, this seems really optimal and far more trustworthy than one person with a sign.  Good luck, sounds like a fun day out.

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June 29, 2011, 04:06:19 PM
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Bitbills seems to be the obvious way.
spruce
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June 29, 2011, 04:19:56 PM
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Table set up, Netbook, make sure to have a friend around you to just be there with you, as the reality is you'd be trying to be a mobile bank, which to me makes for a super awesome target.  

I would do this near a police station or something that has traffic pass through, but is not necessarily the most high traffic area (I only worry about idiots who would have that mentality of 'ah.. mobile bank, let's rob him').    

Maybe the ideal solution would be yourself and two friends, those two could be buffers with information and helping explaining for anyone who would actually get to you for the final transaction.  Actually, this seems really optimal and far more trustworthy than one person with a sign.  Good luck, sounds like a fun day out.

Thanks for the good wishes.

I would mostly be on the street in the picture. It really is that busy during a regular day. Realistically it would be just me, alone, walking around with a sign in that same area for a few hours during the day. I'm not expecting to be pulling in $5,000 a day — I would be surprised if I even got up to $100 a day (turnover, not profit).

It would be best for a regular store owner to do this as a sideline, and I imagine in 6 months or a year or two years there will be plenty of stores doing this, just like you see (or used to) signs saying "faxes sent here, $1 a page" when it's not the guy's main business at all.

However, the parameters are as I said. Just me, alone, with a big sign in a busy pedestrian area in the UK, no sign of gangs anywhere!

I'm looking for info along the lines of don't use the regular bitcoin client but use six instawallet accounts, or whatever seems advisable to people who are much more familiar with what's available than I am.
spruce
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June 29, 2011, 04:20:47 PM
 #5

Bitbills seems to be the obvious way.

Yeah, but they aren't available for 3 months or so. And it doesn't help someone who wants to transfer money to his family back home in Wheretheheckisthatistan.
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June 29, 2011, 04:22:59 PM
 #6

It would be best for a regular store owner to do this as a sideline, and I imagine in 6 months or a year or two years there will be plenty of stores doing this, just like you see (or used to) sign saying "faxes sent here, $1 a page" when it's not the guy's main business at all.
That kind of made me think of how it would be interesting for someone to get together with a business owner in their area, obviously a tech related local store.  Offer the exchange services outside the store for them but do exchanges only for them specifically.   A tech related store owner at the least I think would have a better grasp of what would be taking place and may even help promote it

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June 29, 2011, 04:27:29 PM
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You would likely get no one who already knows about bitcoins.

You would likely get many inquiries about what bitcoins are, how to use them, etc.

But, practically, this means that you have to have a way to sell to people who do not yet use bitcoins.  Maybe you could use an online wallet service, and have them sign up right then and there.

Make sure you lock your netbook(s)/laptop(s) to the table you are using.  Not only are they valuable for being computer hardware, but I'm sure you'll have some bitcoins loaded up on them as well?
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June 29, 2011, 04:28:10 PM
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try to find as many inexpensive USB flash drives as possible.  find out how to load the client software onto the stick so all that people have to do is plug in the stick and the autorun.inf will load the bitcoin software for them. maybe it would even be possible to burn everything to a CD-R with funds preloaded.

spruce
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June 29, 2011, 04:29:20 PM
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It would be best for a regular store owner to do this as a sideline, and I imagine in 6 months or a year or two years there will be plenty of stores doing this, just like you see (or used to) sign saying "faxes sent here, $1 a page" when it's not the guy's main business at all.
That kind of made me think of how it would be interesting for someone to get together with a business owner in their area, obviously a tech related local store.  Offer the exchange services outside the store for them but do exchanges only for them specifically.   A tech related store owner at the least I think would have a better grasp of what would be taking place and may even help promote it

I agree, but please work with my parameters. I'm pretty much retired. I want to get out on the street maybe a few hours a day whenever I want. Or not. I'm not going to tie myself down to being in a fixed place at a certain time, beyond hanging around long enough after a transaction for a paying customer to see the transaction having occurred for himself on block explorer.
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June 29, 2011, 04:33:36 PM
 #10

Advertising the times you will be out on the street would help. It may be asking a lot to get cold sales of BTC from a general crowd. But if people knew you when you were around they may stop by just like they do for any merchant.
I think there is a service like this one; ( http://btcnearme.com/ ) for Europe and the UK. That might be of interest also.

And as mentioned, think security. A laptop is tempting enough, a laptop filled with bitcoins is a super target. In the U.S. we would just bring our guns. I know thats not an option for you .

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June 29, 2011, 04:40:43 PM
 #11

Bitbills seems to be the obvious way.

Yeah, but they aren't available for 3 months or so. And it doesn't help someone who wants to transfer money to his family back home in Wheretheheckisthatistan.

Damn why haven't I heard of Bitbills, that is a really cool idéa!

Looking for an easy way to charge bitcoins at: houseofreplicas.net, high quality replica watches. Using WP with the E-shop plug-in at the moment for charging credit-cards.
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spruce
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June 29, 2011, 04:41:38 PM
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Oh! I didn't check the legality of selling stuff on the street like this. It may be completely illegal without a street trader license or whatever, in which case I'm not going to do it cowboy-fashion.

Let me check. . . .

EDIT: OK, wouldn't work as I wanted. They don't allow traders to set up temporary pitches or sell on the move like that in that area. Pity.

Thanks anyway. Smiley

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June 29, 2011, 06:37:48 PM
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EDIT: OK, wouldn't work as I wanted. They don't allow traders to set up temporary pitches or sell on the move like that in that area. Pity.

Bitcoin is not (yet) a currency. It's like having a sign that says "I'll give you money if you add me as a friend on Facebook", or "give me a dollar and I'll add you as a friend on Facebook".

You wouldn't make or spend a huge lot of money anyways, so I think it's worth the try. I don't know the US, but at this stage I would say it's unlikely you have any legal issues, only practical ones.

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DamienBlack
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June 29, 2011, 06:42:36 PM
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EDIT: OK, wouldn't work as I wanted. They don't allow traders to set up temporary pitches or sell on the move like that in that area. Pity.

Bitcoin is not (yet) a currency. It's like having a sign that says "I'll give you money if you add me as a friend on Facebook", or "give me a dollar and I'll add you as a friend on Facebook".

You wouldn't make or spend a huge lot of money anyways, so I think it's worth the try. I don't know the US, but at this stage I would say it's unlikely you have any legal issues, only practical ones.

I think he means traders as in anyone selling something. Apples, trinkets, bitcoins, anything.

I trade bitcoin options at https://bitoption.org/ ... Join me.
I play poker at https://betco.in/ ... Join me.
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BitcoinPorn
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June 29, 2011, 06:42:45 PM
 #15

Idea completely stemmed from this thread that only a real business owner would be able to pull off.

Give away Bitcoin on usb sticks, the catch, you have to use some of that money inside "Whatever this shop is" .. explain they get to keep all change and that the change can be used on so many other vendors etc.

So, this is not as cheap as selling Bitcoins, in fact it is costly, but I think doing this at a mall with one shop that agrees to accept Bitcoin could really change some peoples minds and open them up to this.  So in the end, not a lot of conversions with this method, but I feel ever conversion would be of high quality.

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June 29, 2011, 07:13:21 PM
 #16

I did this recently at WWDC in SF with mixed success.  I do think it'll pickup momentum though. 

It was difficult because I needed either my laptop or way to remote to my laptop.  This gave rise to a idea for a new website that would facilitate this kind of transaction, and in general help to decentralize exchanges.  In a bitcoin world anyone can be an exchange.

Stay tuned for an announcement coming very soon.

Meanwhile you can do this type of transaction for a profit if you have access to an online exchange while your out. This is accomplished by having cash in your trading account, then when a person buys bitcoins from you you sell them at some percentage more then the current market price while at the same time buying those bitcoins back from the market at the current price.  If the current market price is $20.00, you sell 1 btc for $21 (5%, or whatever you chose).  You can go the other way as well as long as you alway hold a position on both sides of the market.

j

The value of bitcoins is not a theory, predictions of it's failure are what is theoretical.
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