Bitcoin adoption could increase in Cuba, especially if private companies see the benefits of accepting Bitcoin as a currency. Cuban businessman and bitcoin advocate Eric García Cruz said:
Cruz, a recent immigrant to the United States, is a vocal supporter of Bitcoin adoption in Cuba. Cruz heads money transfer and remittance services BitRemesas and QvaPay, and since 2020 has been outspoken in his support for his Bitcoin-using compatriots.
In an interview with Cointelegraph as part of an upcoming documentary, Cruz explained that Cubans can use Bitcoin “as a tool.”
Some Cubans use bitcoin as a store of value, a medium of exchange and a tool for remittances, but ultimately to “get out of the matrix,” he explained. Cruz referred to a centrally planned and officially communized economy.
While Cuba has no independent press, the historic US embargo makes it very difficult for Cubans to access US products, services and even applications. Bitcoin is a state-independent currency and has no leader or central party.
Cruz explained that during a visit to El Salvador in 2022, one of his friends asked, “If Cuba is run by the Communist Party, how would you teach about Bitcoin in Cuba?” Surely that party would oppose Bitcoin?
“I don’t know if the government doesn’t understand how powerful Bitcoin is. I’m just wondering if they’re afraid of coinization.”
Cruz hinted that governments may already understand how bitcoin works, and that internet-based money could “avoid sanctions around the world.”
Additionally, from 2021 onwards, the government has stepped up its commitment to cryptocurrencies, allowing private businesses to legally accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as goods and services. Cruz explained that more and more private companies need to accept cryptocurrencies instead of Cuban pesos and MLCs (Moneda Libremente Convertible Currencies).
“Accepting payment in CUP or MLC would solve the customer’s problem, but it would cause problems for you, because the owner says he will try to convert CLP or MLC to international currency then or later. There will be.”
The Cuban peso has fallen over 800% since its inception. Even if Cubans bought the Bitcoin bull market absolute high of $69,000, they would still be worth more in Bitcoin than in the peso. Additionally, MLC is a government-backed stablecoin used for purchases at state-run supermarkets. Cubans who want to save money usually save their money in US dollars, and more and more people are using Bitcoin.
Cruz cites the example of a father who bought a small amount of bitcoin in a Cuban peso pension fund three years ago. As the Cuban peso continues to depreciate, the value of pension funds has decreased dramatically, while bitcoin has not only maintained its purchasing power, but has also increased it.
“This is not financial advice, but you are better off storing your value in bitcoin than in government-issued fucking CUP.”
Nevertheless, Bitcoin suffers from a bad reputation in Cuba, despite the significant devaluation of the currency. Mr. Cruz was tricked into cryptocurrency projects before he learned what Bitcoin was.
“We don’t have internet [in Cuba] Until five years ago, Bitcoin was 14 years old. Our society’s first contact with Bitcoin was a scam. ”
Cuba has a highly educated population and college education is free, but the island is shielded from Western influence and the internet is a relatively new tool. As Cruz points out, it was during his last five years that the Internet began to permeate the country in meaningful ways.
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Cruz’s work and that of the Cuban Bitcoin community are aimed at private Cuban companies. Areas where Bitcoin adoption could thrive:
“We have to teach the people who have the power to accept that solution. And it’s the private sector. Got it?
Cruz’s interview will be featured in an upcoming documentary on Bitcoin in Cuba.
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