Bitcoin ATM in Halifax a first in Atlantic Canada

A bar in Halifax has a new piece of technology - the first bitcoin ATMs in Atlantic Canada.

Enthusiasts can exchange Canadian cash for virtual currency

This bitcoin machine is now installed at Dirty Nelly's, next to a traditional automated banking machine. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

A bar in Halifax has a new piece of technology - the first bitcoin ATM in Atlantic Canada.

Durty Nelly's on Argyle Street installed the machine last Thursday.

Bitcoin is a digital currency which can be exchanged directly between users over the internet, by-passing banks.

At the bar, people can insert Canadian money, which will be converted into bitcoins. The balance will then be put into the customer's online account.

The price to buy one bitcoin is currently just under $500 Canadian. That price has fluctuated wildly over the last few months.

Matthew MacVicar, a bartender at Durty Nelly's, says he's already seen at least one person come in just to use the machine.

“It's kind of a new thing, looking to get cash for bitcoins. So, kind of interesting they put it here. Maybe a little publicity, get people in," he said.

"Our clientele is kind of a bit of an older demographic generally. So playing with the stocks or bitcoin it can be, I guess, something that would appeal to people who hang out here."

The bar does not yet accept bitcoins as payment for food and drinks.

Bitcoin, which came into existence in 2009, isn’t controlled by any authority such as a central bank. They are mathematically generated through a series of commands executed by computers in a peer-to-peer network. The process is called Bitcoin "mining" and is set up so that the total number of Bitcoins that can ever be generated is limited to about 21 million.