Bitcoin trading is becoming a new trend among the Cuban population. The country has been isolated financially for years under a US trade ban, but now, BTC seems to be transforming things for communist-run Cuba.
A new report published on Sept. 12 by US News says, as mobile internet is now available in Cuba, the Cuban population is using cryptocurrencies more and more for making purchases online. They have also started trading and investing in Bitcoin.
With no access to debit/credit cards that could be used internationally, crypto-enabled purchases have become popular among consumers. Jason Sanchez, a local citizen, was interviewed by US News, and he said crypto was “opening new avenues” for the country’s population. He further said that he could now buy spare parts for his mobile phone repair shop from online Chinese retailers thanks to Bitcoin.
Alex Sobrino, founder of CubaCripto, estimated somewhere around 1,000 Cubans were relying on crypto for their online purchases.
“We are using cryptocurrencies to top up our cellphones, to make purchases online,” he said. “And there are even people reserving hotel rooms.”
As credit cards are not so common, local cryptocurrency users usually have to ask their relatives abroad to get access to the crypto markets, or they must rely on social channels like CubaCripto.
Another option is the exchanges where cash is exchanged for BTC in person using a laptop or mobile device for performing the transaction, the report says.
Almost 1,300 users are now using Fusyona, the country’s first crypto exchange. People abroad can send remittances to Cuba through this platform, or can invest in 9 different crypto coins through a bigger exchange where a service fee of around 10% is charged. Adrian C. Leon, the founder of Fusyona exchange, told US News: “For foreigners, cryptocurrencies is just another options. But for Cubans, it is a necessity and can be a solution to their exclusion from the global financial community.”
According to Sobrino, still there’s fear and uncertainty over how the Cuban government would respond to this budding crypto trend. Fusyona is currently in talks with the central bank officials for investigating if they could be formally approved.
“We worry the government will restrict us, prohibit things, start to say this is illicit enrichment,” he said.
According to reports, the central bank revealed earlier in the week that they were looking into benefits and risks associated with digital currencies.