Skirting U.S. sanctions to Cubans to flock to cryptocurrency to make online money

HAVANA (Reuters) – Jason Sanchez, 35, was in a position to start buying the parts online last year for a mobile phone repair shop in Havana, thanks to the introduction of cryptocurrency to the market in the Communist-run Island.

Alex Sobrino, the founder of the cable channel’s CubaCripto, check the market for the transactions of bitcoins are in a park in Havana, Cuba, September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

Cuba is, in many respects, it will remain stuck in the analog past, it seems to be an unlikely hotbed for cryptocurrencies – electronic tokens that the use of encryption techniques to secure transactions.

However, the roll-out of mobile internet nearly a year ago, it has opened the way for cryptocurrency transactions, and the fans have multiplied, as have the coin, will help to overcome the obstacles created by the US sanctions against Cuba.

The decades-old U.S. trade embargo of the budget cuts, Locals of the conventional international payment systems and financial markets as well. y does not obtain a credit card or a debit card for international use on the island, and the battle is on in the foreign country.

So the y as the Guard, the purchase of digital currencies, which are mostly unregulated, decentralized, and anonymously if they wish, to purchase, to invest and to trade.

“This is really opening up new doors for us,” said Sanchez, who will use Bitcoin, the most well-known cryptocurrency for the purchase of items that are not available in the new Cuba, an online Chinese retail store.

Alex Sobrino, the founder of the cable channel’s CubaCripto where the y’s debate, and the trade in the digital currency, he said that he estimated that more than 10,000 Cubans were using it.

“We will be using cryptocurrencies for on our mobile phones to make purchases online, and there are even some people in the booking of hotel rooms (it),” said the 33-year-old, who trades crypto as a side-gig to his family’s baking business.

To be sure, it is not likely that the digital coins as a primary form of payment, to the Caribbean island of 11.2 million people any time soon.

Cryptocurrency market is still in a grey legal territory of the country.

And, since the Locals usually do not have credit cards have a lot of questions to family members in foreign countries to purchase their very first episode of the cryptocurrency, or to purchase, in the community and on social media channels, such as CubaCripto, which has more than 400 members.

In many cases the two sides of the deal to meet face-to-face with the buyer to hand over the money and the seller will have to carry out the transaction on a laptop or a phone.

Quickly purchased a few fractions of a Bitcoin which is worth about us $10,000 through a startup founded a year ago by the Natives in Brazil that aims to make computer purchases more business-like.


Fusyona, which of the statements is Cuba’s first crypto exchange to make use of its hard currency from the people in the diaspora who want to send money to Cuba, to get you to invest in one of the nine major cryptocurrencies, through a greater exchange of experiences.

Then, with the pesos Cubans who are willing to invest in it not less than the equivalent of $150 in the computer to pay the money. The site, which, for a fee of no more than 10 per cent, has a range of 1,300 users to date.

“For foreigners, and cryptocurrencies, it is just another option,” said the founder, Adrian C., and Leon, a 31-year-old Cuban is a computer scientist based in Rio de Janeiro, brazil.

However, for the Locals, it is a necessity and can be an effective solution for the foreclosure of the world’s financial community.”

Several crowd-funding platforms to the close of the year, not only for the victims of the tornado in Havana earlier this year, for example, in spite of the donations are legal, just because it’s the name of the country.

External platforms are getting nervous about the implementation of the legal transactions related to Cuba due to past multimillion-dollar U.S. fines and penalties for the violation of the sanctions.

Fusyona its own donations to the account, in Bitcoin that no problems at all.


The Cuban government said in July it was in the self-exploration of the possibilities of the cryptocurrency, following in the footsteps of other countries under U.S. sanctions, like Venezuela and Iran.

During a short stay on the island, in the united states and diffuse, crypto-evangelist, and a founder of the McAfee antivirus software, John McAfee, made headlines saying that he would be willing to help out in Cuba in the company.

However, it could be for Cuba, like Iran, the development of an experimental national cryptocurrency, even when the prohibition on trading in the digital currency, as a result of concerns about money laundering, in a clash with Communist principles.

“We are worried that the government will restrict and prohibit things that are starting to say that it is an unlawful enrichment,” said Sobrino.

He added that he was pleased with the support of the government of the young of the crypto community, and was well aware of the need to protect the potential investors from scammers out to take advantage of the lack of rules, just like anywhere else in the world.

Leon said, he was nervous, it was his agents on the island, which are able to be received and money to be able to be suspicious of high-risk financial transactions, and has begun discussions with the Central Bank and government officials about the possibility of getting an official stamp of approval for the Fusyona. The company has been registered in the country.

The Central Bank has been exploring the benefits and risks of the digital currency, the state-run website Cubadebate said on Tuesday.

Professor Alexi Masso Muoz, of the Havana University’s cryptography institute, was quoted as saying that there is no law on the subject at the moment, “even though it may be, you will soon have of it.”

In the meantime, the craze has reached even Cuba, in the eastern regions, far removed from the cosmopolitan, capital city.

“I look forward to the future of cryptocurrency, it will be par for the course for all Cubans,” said Ruslan Concepcion, 27, who lives in the peaceful east of the city of Las Tunas, and investing in crypto to earn extra income.

Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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