On the way to packet pickup for the Devil Dog Double, I bought some bitcoin at a gas station ATM.
The machine by the door was dollar-based, so I hunted around and found a Satoshi1 machine in the back.
The process was quite painless. Enter a mobile number, receive a five-digit verification code via SMS from Austin number 512-233-6843.
The exchange rate was quoted as $1588 buy $2188 sell for up to $1000, a bid-ask spread of 27%, fairly high for a currency exchange. The spread was 16% ($1765 buy $2110 sell) for larger purchases, up to $10,000. (The price on BitStamp was between 1920 and 2010 that day.)
I fed a 20 in and elected to receive a new paper wallet rather than showing my own QR code. Out came a thermal-printed receipt with my new stash.
I tried a second transaction using a Google Voice number, but it was immediately rejected as a voice-over-IP number.
Smart money says you should not trust a wallet generated in a gas station, so I am trying to transfer the value out before I spill something on the receipt. This has been a learning process. Contray to my earlier dismissal, transaction fees are no longer less than a penny. My client software suggested that I include a fee worth more than a dollar, which struck me as pure frivolity. After insufficient research I offered 0.00025 BTC to the mining gods, still over fifty cents. Now I realize that my offer of 97 satoshis per byte is likely to leave my transaction unconfirmed indefinitely. Apparently the network will forget about my transaction in a few days and I'll be able to try again.
Bitcoin remains a stark example of the Subjective theory of value, that a thing is worth whatever someone is willing to exchange to get it.
At the race, I pushed hard to set a good PR at my first 5-miler, but did not even hit my conservative goal of 40 minutes. Then it was tough to find motivation to run the half marathon, and the lazy pace evident in my pace chart resulted in a finish almost half an hour slower than my best. Probably I should have walked up Hospital Hill.