For many, the BItcoin currency is a mystery.
Still, 23 Bitcoin automated-teller machines have been installed in Detroit in places like the Big V Party Store on the northwest side, reports Louis Aguilar of The Detroit News:
Bitcoin ATMs allow users to put cash into the machines, scan a QR barcode from their phone or tablet, and have that money converted into bitcoins. The currency has no physical form. The teller machine deposits the virtual currency into users’ online accounts. They can then use that bitcoin to pay someone else online by transferring it to that user’s account. ATM users also can convert bitcoins into other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum or Litecoin.
In Detroit, Bitcoin ATMs are installed in party stores, gas stations and cash-checking centers in neighborhoods where empty houses and blighted buildings are common. Beyond the city limits, most of the estimated 80 machines in Metro Detroit are largely in low-income areas of Pontiac, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Taylor and Inkster, according to information on various websites.
"My company installed 15 Bitcoin ATMs last year," in Detroit, said Ayman Rida, who started a company in late 2016 called International Bitcoin that supplies machines to Metro Detroit stores. "Last year, the business grew very, very good at the locations."
Yaya Fanusie, a former economic and counter-terrorism analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, now studies the impact of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for a Washington, D.C., think tank.
"It’s a guess because the technology is new. We need time to collect data. The fact (that Bitcoin ATMs) are in the kind of areas you describe, only says how much digital currency is growing worldwide."