Cuba is becoming a major haven for cryptocurrency use thanks to people like Alex Sobrino, who recently launched Cuba Cripto, one of the island’s first digital currency groups.
Cuba Is Becoming a Nation of Crypto Hounds
Cuba is a hard nation to pinpoint in that it is a communist country that has long placed heavy burdens on people – so much so that the accumulation of private wealth has become nearly impossible for many individuals. In addition, Cuba has long faced sanctions from the United States and many of its allies.
This is partly why bitcoin and crypto have become so big within the nation’s borders as of late. In 2018, when Cuba Cripto was first created, the organization only had about 50 users, many of whom “didn’t even know each other” according to Sobrino.
Now, however, it appears there are roughly five million people in the country that have used digital currency to one degree or another. The big striking moment that arguably led to this movement came in 2020 when a new law was implemented that prevented Cubans in the U.S. from sending remittances home to their families via Western Union.
Erich Garcia – founder of BitRemesas.com, a company that processes crypto-based remittance payments – said in an interview:
When Western Union ceased to exist, there was a big rise in remittances via cryptocurrencies.
Sobrino also said that Telegram groups became quite big as more and more individuals sought ways to send money home to those they loved and cared for. He says:
One of the alternatives were Telegram groups. People created groups where they only talked about crypto exchange rates. ‘I have a relative that lives in Chile. I can give you crypto and you give me pesos, OK?’
Right now, U.S. sanctions have cut Cubans out of many of the globe’s ecommerce platforms such as eBay, Amazon, and the App Store. Cubans are also not able to use communication applications such as Skype. Garcia says this isn’t a problem, claiming that so long as Cubans can use crypto, they are more than capable of taking care of themselves. He stated:
Goodbye. See you later. We don’t need you anymore. You don’t deliver services to me? OK, no problem. I will use cryptocurrency to expand my business.
Eyonys Gonzalez – a 33-year-old software developer who pays for items like antivirus and web hosting with bitcoin – added to this sentiment by mentioning:
We no longer think, ‘I’m Cuban, so I can’t use this.’ No. Bitcoin doesn’t recognize borders.
Sobrino says one of the big clinchers about crypto is that it ensures you’re not watched, which everyone is concerned about in a communist country. He says:
Cryptocurrencies represent financial freedom, getting away from centralization and inflation, and they also ensure you’re not watched over by any entity.