It’s no great surprise that most people are confused when they first hear about the amorphous digital currency known as Bitcoin. Some customs agents in Seattle were more than a little confused when they screened a well-known Chinese Bitcoin developer. “Doctor Nefario” arrived with just $600 in cash. Agents determined he could not fund his two month stay in America, so they shipped him home, but not before asking him some questions.
Doctor Nefario was planning to work with entrepreneurs Mike Koss and Peter Vessenes at the StartPad offices in Seattle. He had already paid for the work space he would be using; in Bitcoin of course. Nefario says he was questioned for hours by Customs agents about how Bitcoin worked, where he got them, and how he traded Bitcoin for legal tender. Despite informing agents that he was going to be exchanging some Bitcoins for $1500 (in real money) the next day, he was sent home.
Before sending Nefario on his way, US Customs did seize his phone and iPad in order to copy all the data before returning them. The StartPad guys were understandably bummed to not get to foster Nefario’s Bitcoin project, but were good enough to transfer his Bitcoins back.