Anatomy of a bitcoin transaction: Buying a used Subaru

EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. (AP) – Buying with bitcoin can be as easy as tapping your phone, though there is a learning curve.

Michael’s Auto Plaza near Albany, New York, sells cars to bitcoin buyers and converts the money into U.S. dollars. The first sale took at least a half-hour to clear, meaning the seller watched its value go up and down as he waited to make the conversion to dollars. A sale last week took far less time.

Digital currencies are notoriously used by criminals to transfer funds anonymously. But there are applications that make it easy for buyers to send bitcoin from an electronic wallet to merchants.

Bitcoin miner fees have dropped markedly this year, and advocates say congestion issues are being solved by new technologies.