Michael Barr quoted in Free Press on Bitcoin ATMs in low-income neighborhoods

June 29, 2018

Bitcoin ATMs in poor neighborhoods are "not a safe or sound way of providing financial services to low-income people," says Dean Michael Barr in an interview with Detroit Free Press journalist Susan Tompor.

The article, titled "Bitcoin ATMs showing up in odd spots across metro Detroit," appeared in the June 28, 2018 edition of the paper. It explores the growing trend that, as Tompor writes, has seen 80 crypto currency ATMs installed around metro Detroit, often in "the oddest spots, including party stores, many in the neighborhoods where most people aren’t flush with cash."

Industry leaders say that the ATMs could benefit low-income people without bank accounts. Barr, whose research focuses on equity in financial services, says that "investing in Bitcoin as a strategy for helping poor people, I think is really not a good idea," citing the high degree of volatility in the value of Bitcoin. "The last thing low income people need is more volatility, more uncertainty, in their lives.”