Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Cubans Are Increasingly Using Cryptocurrency: Report

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Cubans are increasingly using cryptocurrency according to the latest survey from the island nation so let’s read more today in our latest cryptocurrency news.

Crypto has become quite attractive for the island nation because of the US sanctions limiting the ability to conduct international trade so now Cubans are increasingly using crypto as an alternative means of exchange due to limitations imposed by the US sanctions on the traditional payment rails. Over 100,000 Cubans are using digital assets thanks to mobile internet reaching the country there years ago.

NBC News interviewed Nelson Rodriguez which is a Cuban cafe owner who accepts both BTC and ETH for payments. He said that he believes in the philosophy of crypto often associated with the free-market ideals, borderlessness, property rights, and censorship resistance. Cuba is governed by a Communist Party and citizens are unable to use internationally accepted debit and credit cards because of the sanctions imposed by the US. Zelle, Revolut, and PayPal are all banned in the region.

cuba central bank
Cuba’s Central Bank

The Cuban Central Bank also announced that it will start issuing licenses to virtual asset service providers this month and eight months before it, the Cuban presidents examined the legalization of crypto for payments. As Rodriguez explained, the digital currencies mean that the payment service providers aren’t necessary for commerce and left their bans negligible. The technology is groundbreaking for this region because international banks found dealing with it can be fined hundreds of millions of dollars and as such, if the Cuban government has the money required for a trade, making payments is still a huge challenge.

An economist from University College London Dr. Emily Morris said it is not surprising to see the Cuban population turn to crypto:

“If you can do transactions directly between two parties which don’t have to go through a bank, then that would be of interest.”

NBC interviewed Ernesto Cisneros who is a Cuban musician who turned to NFTs after his business fell apart because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and now stores his music, videos, and photos on the chain to sell them online for money. Crypto’s role in bypassing the sanctions was examined by the governments since the US Sanctioned Russia back In February. Though small, Cuban businesses could be able to work around these restrictions using crypto accoridng to reports from Chainalysis claiming that it is not viable for alternative national governments. The Binance CEO Changpegn Zhao stated that using crypto for sanctions is a myth:

 “Crypto is too traceable. The governments around the world are increasingly very good at tracking crypto transactions.”

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