A bar in Austin called The Handlebar is featuring the world’s first cash-dispensing Bitcoin ATM in preparation for SXSW.

Bitcoins, you may ask? 

"Bitcoin is a digital, decentralized, crypto-currency.  It’s basically cash for the internet.  It’s a way in which you can send money to anyone around the world who has an internet connection,” says Elizabeth Ploshay, Manager of Communications for Bitcoin Magazine and on the Bitcoin Foundation Board of Directors.

How do you get Bitcoins?  Because they exist only in virtual cyber-space, it gets technical.

“Bitcoins are created through a complex process called mining.  But you and I can get Bitcoins through a peer-to-peer transactions where you pay someone fiat currency, say U.S. dollars, and they will send Bitcoins to your Bitcoin wallet,” says Ploshay.  “But the easiest way is to use services like LocalBitcoins and exchanges where you can actually buy Bitcoins.”

Launched anonymously in 2009, the currency has run into bumps.  Shady dealers have used the service on a virtual black market known as the Silk Road. That hasn’t challenged the enthusiasm of a growing number of people who use Bitcoins, who are now trying to figure out how the financial facets will be regulated and by whom. 

Retailers are also eager to get into the new crypto-money.  Home Depot, Sears, CVS and Amazon are among the companied working Bitcoins into their transaction processes, primarily through eGifter.com.

The techies of the world are making their travel arrangements and will descend on Austin the first week of March, and Bitcoins will be a frequent element in the conversation.