The future of world currency is currently wedged between the diapers shelf and candy rack in a Detroit party store.
There inside Timmy’s Market on 7 Mile, a few steps from the store’s bulletproof-glass-enclosed checkout, is the unlikely location of one of Michigan’s first and few bitcoin ATMs. The touch-screen machine converts dollar bills into bitcoin, the virtual currency that exists only on the Internet and isn’t backed by any government.
The store’s manager, Nick Mikhael, said the bitcoin ATM gets about 10 users a day. Many of his regular customers were at first perplexed by the odd device with a weird name.
“A lot of people ask, ‘What is this?’ ” Mikhael said last week. “I say bitcoin. They ask, ‘What is that?’ “
Bitcoin emerged from tech geek obscurity two years ago as a hot new currency for the Internet age without ties to any country or central bank. Coveted by futurists and libertarians, the currency’s exchange value rocketed from under $14 in early 2013