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Within the harsh penal state of El Salvador, headed by a Bitcoin enthusiast

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    Rusty corrugated metal houses dot the hillside, stray dogs run about on a beach. Standing under an umbrella, a man in a baseball cap whips up a cup of mango-flavoured shaved ice. “Bitcoin accepted here”, reads a sticker on his blue chariot.

    A tourist in Hawaiian shorts presents a smartphone to pay for his snow cone with bitcoin, using a QR code. “Man, that’s good,” he says, taking a sip.

    A two-and-a-half-hour flight from Miami, El Zonte, a palm-fringed resort on the Pacific coast of El Salvador, has been a magnet for foreign bitcoin enthusiasts since the tiny, impoverished Central American country adopted the cryptocurrency as legal tender alongside the US dollar two years ago.

    Cup in hand, Frank Hughes, 40, a tech start-up manager


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