Ireland is about to get its first Bitcoin ATM when the machine is installed in a cafe in Temple Bar in Dublin.

It is expected to be online in the next couple of days.

The machine will allow users to exchange cash for Bitcoins.

Users will need to have a digital wallet set up in which to store their virtual currency.

They will scan their digital wallet, insert cash into the machine, and then have their purchased Bitcoins placed into their digital wallet.

Bitcoins are currently not recognised or regulated by the Central Bank and so anyone buying the virtual currency is not entitled to any protection.

The ATM is being placed in Hippety's Cafe, Wine Bar and Gallery on Fownes Street by a company called Bitvendo.

It describes itself on its website as being owned by a consortium of investors spread across three continents.

It said its mission is to educate people about Bitcoin, make it more accessible and to make money from it.

The company said it intends to roll out several ATMs in Ireland and in the UK during this year.

Bitcoin is a virtual digital currency, which is not backed by real assets and has no central authorities governing it.

Each Bitcoin is introduced to the system slowly over time, surrounded by a complex mathematical puzzle, and can only be unlocked by experts using high-powered computers - a process known as mining.

This slow release guards against inflation, and a finite number of 21 million Bitcoins will have been released by 2140.

The arrival of the first Bitcoin ATM in Ireland comes amid growing scepticism about the stability of the currency, following the collapse last week in Japan of the world's biggest Bitcoin exchange, Mt Gox.

It filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday, saying it may have lost some 850,000 Bitcoins worth $477m due to hacking into its faulty computer system.