Home Cryptocurrency News Bitcoin New York Today: Living on Bitcoin

New York Today: Living on Bitcoin

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Living on bitcoin alone is not easy.
Leon Neal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Good morning on this stormy Monday.

Bitcoin can make you filthy rich, but it still won’t buy you a buttered roll at your bodega.

How do we know? We tried.

For 36 hours last week I lived on Bitcoin alone. Surviving on the cryptocurrency, even in one of the world’s financial capitals, wasn’t easy. It required long subway rides to far-flung vendors where I was often the first Bitcoin-paying customer.

To get started, I bought 0.00737523 Bitcoin ($50) on Coinbase, a popular cryptocurrency exchange. It took an hour, $1.99 in fees, uploading a photo ID, and calling my bank after the charge was flagged as possibly fraudulent.

Coinbase also canceled my first attempt to buy the volatile currency because the price had fluctuated in the 10 seconds or so it took me to check out.

I went to bed and woke up with Bitcoin worth $50.14 in my digital wallet and a list of things to accomplish: grocery shop, do laundry, buy socks, work out and get a haircut.

But first, I needed coffee.

The closest place I found was Kavasutra in the East Village, a 30-minute subway ride away. (The subway does not accept Bitcoin, so to ride I had to cheat.)

After pulling a shot of cold brew for 0.00014486 BTC, or $1, the barista called up a QR code on an iPad. I scanned it with an app on my phone, but it didn’t work. He began coaching me like a child patiently setting up Grandpa’s Facebook account, and then gave up.

But eventually I figured it out, the payment went through and I became his third Bitcoin-paying customer of the day.

Paying with cryptocurrency was like that: exciting, fraught and never the same twice.

I was invoiced by email for a load of laundry at the Eco Laundry Company in Chelsea. I texted with a hair stylist in Israel who accepted a tip on behalf of his colleague at Armando Piña Hair Salon on the Upper East Side. I waited — fingers crossed — for five minutes before a payment finally posted and I could dig into an ice cream sandwich at Melt Bakery on the Lower East Side.

And like an obsessive day trader, I would check my digital wallet and watch as the value went up and down by a few cents every few minutes.

It was fun, until I got hungry.

I had searched for restaurants and grocery stores using Coinmap, the Blockchain Wallet and filters on Yelp, but almost none took Bitcoin, and most said they never had.

“No one is really using it the way it’s supposed to be used, as a currency,” said Dan Sim, who accepts Bitcoin at his Lean Crust pizza shop in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Circa 2013, he said, he’d process dozens of Bitcoin purchases a week, but as the currency became more valuable and volatile, that’s dropped to zero. “People don’t want to part with their Bitcoin,” he said.

I couldn’t find anyone to sell me less than $200 worth of socks or a gym that accepted Bitcoin. By the time lunch rolled around on Day 2, I was ready to throw in the towel.

I headed to Sweetgreen. Its restaurants don’t accept cash, but they still take good old-fashioned plastic.

Here’s what else is happening:

Weather

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);
.nyt-weather .w-link
visibility: hidden;
font-weight: 400;
display: inline-block;
.nyt-weather .w-location
margin-bottom: 6px;
.nyt-weather .w-location .w-current
text-transform: uppercase;
.nyt-weather .w-location .w-city
color: inherit;
margin-right: 20px;
.nyt-weather .w-location a
pointer-events: none;
.nyt-weather .w-location .w-link
display: none;
.nyt-weather .w-description
font-size: 14px;
margin-bottom: 6px;
color: #000;
.viewport-medium .nyt-weather .w-description
font-size: 16px;
.nyt-weather .w-icon
vertical-align: middle;
margin-right: 5px;
height: 35px;
.nyt-weather .w-temp
font-size: 34px;
line-height: 1;
font-weight: 100;
margin-right: 8px;
display: inline-block;
vertical-align: middle;
color: #000;
.nyt-weather .w-high, .nyt-weather .w-low
font-size: 18px;
line-height: 1;
font-weight: 100;
display: inline-block;
-webkit-transform: translateY(-1px);
-ms-transform: translateY(-1px);
transform: translateY(-1px);
.nyt-weather .w-low
opacity: 0.7;
.nyt-weather .w-tomorrow
border-top: 1px dotted #DDD;
margin-top: 12px;
padding-top: 16px;
text-transform: uppercase;
.viewport-medium .nyt-weather .w-tomorrow
display: inline-block;
width: 60%;
text-align: right;
border-top: none;
padding-top: 0;
margin-top: 0;
position: absolute;
bottom: 0;
right: 0;
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We’d pay a pretty penny for better weather.

We could see two inches of rain, and thunder may rumble through the morning.

Today’s high is around 60. Highs will be in the 50s all week — a little cool for mid-April.

In the News

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen. [New York Times]

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen.
Justin Lane/EPA, via Shutterstock

Though subway officials have attributed delays to antiquated signals, faulty equipment near the Bergen Street station on the F and G lines is proving that even newer hardware can break down. [New York Times]

A look at the life of David Buckel, the civil rights lawyer and environmentalist who killed himself on Saturday, through the eyes of the people closest to him. [New York Times]

Citing concerns like climate change, officials have prepared a long-term plan for the care of the city’s forests. [New York Times]

A new graphic novel by the comic book writer Peter J. Tomasi retells the origin of the Brooklyn Bridge and the family who made it possible. [New York Times]

The comic book writer Peter J. Tomasi’s passion has resulted in the graphic novel, “The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York.”
James Estrin/The New York Times

Ninety years after her death, Nora Bayes, one of the most famous entertainers of the early 20th century, will finally get a headstone. [New York Times]

Cynthia Nixon won the endorsement of the Working Families Party, a small but influential progressive group. [New York Times]

More than 200 million eggs that may have been contaminated with salmonella were distributed to nine states, including New York and New Jersey. [New York Times]

The William Street Tattoo Center on the Lower East Side is a first-in-the-nation clinic dedicated to tattoo-related medical issues. [Patch]

With more black women rejecting relaxers, hair care professionals on Long Island are adapting to a growing natural hair movement. [Newsday]

Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “Other End of the Leash

For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.

Coming Up Today

Taxes are due tomorrow. Get last-minute help filing at public libraries across the city.

Take a tour of Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side. 11 a.m. [Free]

A three-part lecture series on Einstein’s theories begins at the Jefferson Market Library in Greenwich Village at 6 p.m. [Free]

The author of “Abraham and Straus: It’s Worth a Trip From Anywhere” discusses the history of the department store that once anchored Fulton Street, at the Brooklyn Historical Society in Brooklyn Heights. 6:30 p.m. [$5]

Learn how to hack your mind to be more reasonable at the Empiricists League at Union Hall in Park Slope. 7:30 p.m. [$10]

Yankees host Marlins, 6:35 p.m. (YES). Mets host Nationals, 7:10 p.m. (SNY).

Alternate-side parking remains in effect until May 10.

For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.

And Finally…

Sites memorializing the people who survived the sinking of the Titanic as well as those who died.
Library of Congress

This week in 1912, around 700 people stepped off the Carpathia steamship at Pier 54 in the meatpacking district.

They were the only survivors of the Titanic, which had sunk on April 15, claiming over 1,500 lives.

On the central beam of the pier, you can still read the lettering of the shipping companies “Cunard,” which operated the Carpathia, and “White Star,” which owned the Titanic.

The Titanic left its mark on other places in the city as well.

Many of the surviving crew members were first received at the Lower Manhattan Seamen’s Friend Society, which was dedicated to improving the “social, moral and religious condition of seamen” and is now the Jane Hotel.

Memorials to those who perished include Straus Park, a small park at Broadway and 106th Street dedicated to Isidor and Ida Straus; the William T. Stead Memorial in Central Park at 91st Street, honoring a British journalist who died helping others escape; and a plaque for Edith Corse Evans, a New York socialite and one of the few women from first class who died, at Grace Church in Greenwich Village.

And the white Titanic Memorial Lighthouse, built a year after the tragedy, stood atop the Seamen’s Church Institute until 1967, when it was moved to Titanic Memorial Park near South Street Seaport.

New York Today is a morning roundup that is published weekdays at 6 a.m. If you don’t get it in your inbox already, you can sign up to receive it by email here.

For updates throughout the day, like us on Facebook.

What would you like to see here to start your day? Post a comment, email us at nytoday@nytimes.com, or reach us via Twitter using #NYToday.

Follow the New York Today columnists, Alexandra Levine and Jonathan Wolfe, on Twitter.

You can find the latest New York Today at nytoday.com.

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