Bloomberg's TV hosts (featured on Betty Liu's 'In the Loop') gave a live on-air demonstration on how to purchase a Bitcoin or two. The main participants were the always-game Matt Miller and Max Raskin. The on-air demo occurred today, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013. It can also be found on Google News and Raskin's twitter feed. Cory Johnson (Bloomberg TV's editor-at-large) also performed in a Bitcoin transfer. The transfers were paid for in cash (United States dollars) on the live bit.
Matt explained several avenues in the Bloomberg TV lesson for trying to purchase the Bitcoin - including Coinbase. Matt stated that the international digital wallet site (also available as an Android app) requires the posting of several pieces of personally identifying information. The impression is that Bitcoin may not be that anonymous in a purchasing position. "Mining" may be the only route to "Bitcoin anonymity" by the way. So Matt brought in Max Raskin who "talked to a guy" and purchased the cryptocurrency for Matt.
Matt had the $800 in cash which was accepted by Mr. Raskin. (One wonders if this type of transaction is still legal?) Both had their smartphones ready (no iPhones - Apple dropped Bitcoin) and QR codes for the Bitcoin/transfer. A couple of attempts to transfer the Bitcoin digital merchandise were finally successful. Max had to enter Matt's address (more identifying information) to tender the transaction in full. Investigating their live Bitcoin swap for cash demo seems to invalidate the "universality" and "anonymity" of the Bitcoin. That would seem like two strikes against a currency that trades more like a digital piece of stock or other merchandise. In this instance, Bitcoin seems like a "reverse-promissory note".
But wait, was it Betty Liu who reminded all that Alan Greenspan famously "guessed that Bitcoin is a bubble"? Yet Bank of America Merrill Lynch disagreed in their report on the utility of Bitcoin (featured on The Hacker News Dec. 6, 2013). They have gone along with their report even though Bitcoin still has some development issues: it doesn't accept PayPal or American Express. Issues indicating a potential for fraud and a need for regulation (two of BOAML's listed disadvantages). The report scenario and the Bitcoin purchase lesson on live Bloomberg TV offer some "scary thinking" perhaps.