Cubans Using Bitcoin To Avoid US Sanctions

Citizens of the communist ruled Cuba, who have been subjected to sanctions by the US, now have a way to avoid the sanctions partly aided by the digital currency bitcoin.

Advantage of innovative developments within the country is being taken advantage of by Cubans according to reports.

One of the major changes has been the proliferation of mobile internet that has thrown open many options to the citizens of Cuba. The access of the country to goods and services – including essential online payment systems, have been denied by US sanctions on the country as a part of trade restrictions which dates back to the 1960s.

But presently, Cubans are possibly turning to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to avoid the trade embargo by the US because of the firm establishment of mobile internet.

One such report presented by ‘US News’ talked about one Cuban who noted new doors were being opened up for Cubans by cryptocurrencies. The report cited the case of the individual who explained how the individual’s cellphone repair business was saved because of the non-sovereign power of bitcoin because he used the crypto currency to purchase mobile parts online.

However there is a shortage of crucial component of cryptocurrency trading – debit and credit cards, because of the lack of access to financial services. This forces Cubans to often seek help from friends and family based in foreign countries.

About 10,000 Cubans we’re utilizing cryptocurrencies already, said Alex Sobrino, the founder of CubaCripto, a de facto peer-to-peer crypto trading group on Telegram. “We are using cryptocurrencies to top up our cellphones, to make purchases online, and there are even people reserving hotel rooms,” he said.

Currently, there is a user base of about 1,300 peopl;e at the first every cryptocurrency exchange of Cuba called Fusyona. In addition to trading in crypto currencies, this bespoke platform which had been designed specifically to suit the special needs of Cuban citizens, also helps in making remittance payments.

The growing importance of cryptocurrencies was noted by Adrian C. Leon, founder of Fusyona, in an interview to ‘US News’. “For foreigners, cryptocurrencies is just another option. But for Cubans, it is a necessity and can be a solution to their exclusion from the global financial community,” he said.

There are however concerns about a clampdown and restrictions being imposed on the use of cryptocururency and related services by the government.  “We worry the government will restrict us, prohibit things, start to say this is illicit enrichment,” explained Leon.

Apart from Cubans using crypto currencies to subvert US sanctions, the same strategy is also being used by Venuzealuans for a number of years. This trend has reached to such an extent that the Iranian government recently seized a reported 1,000 miners with the aim of reducing the impact of crypto mining on energy consumption.

Despite these measures however, little old bitcoin continues to undermine the international sanctions placed on misbehaving governments.

(Adapted from Decrypt.co)

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