• Sat. May 21st, 2022

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El Salvador’s bitcoin gamble draws crypto-tourists but angers locals

The adoption of cryptocurrency as legal tender by El Salvador’s government has attracted enthusiastic tourists, concern from financial institutions and scorn from locals

Technology 1 March 2022

2G26J6E Roberto Carlos Silva, owner of La Zontena store, poses at his business where he accepts Bitcoins at El Zonte Beach in Chiltiupan, El Salvador June 8, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

A store owner in surfing hotspot El Zonte, now known as Bitcoin Beach

JOSE CABEZAS/REUTERS/Alamy

“Fifty cents for a pupusa,” says Carolina Reyes, a food vendor in El Palmarcito, El Salvador, as she throws the cornmeal pancakes on the grill. “Bitcoin or cash?”

A growing number of Reyes’s customers are transferring cryptocurrency into her digital wallet rather than handing over bills. “Americans, French, Canadians, they’re all paying in bitcoin for my pupusas,” she says.

Tourists have long been drawn to El Salvador for its surf, but now they are coming to …