Cubans are interested in Bitcoin because other important digital payment options, such as PayPal, are not available.
Cuba is apparently seeing an influx of Bitcoin-related activities (BTC), with interest in Bitcoin increasing in the country.
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According to Google Trends data, Cuba now ranks second in terms of interest in Anon System in the last 30 days. The island nation follows Nigeria, which has remained the leading country by searching for Bitcoin on Google since April 2020.
The rest of the top five Google regions that search on Bitcoin include the African countries of South Africa, Cameroon and Ghana.
Google search data for the term „bitcoin
The increase in Bitcoin-related research in Cuba is taking place amid news of Cubans increasingly resorting to Bitcoin to circumvent the sanctions imposed by the United States and obtain access to digital financial services. As large digital payment companies such as PayPal and Stripe are not available to Cuban citizens, travel restrictions fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic have made local payments even more complicated.
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In late October, a local programmer and YouTuber Erich García urged the nation to use Bitcoin for cross-border remittances, claiming that anyone who wants to send payments to the island should buy Bitcoin and send it through a Cuban cryptomedas exchange called BitRemesas:
„We do not have access to payment platforms like Stripe, Visa, Mastercard, Paypal or Union Pay. We do not have access to anything, to any of these resources. What technology allowed us to dream, to see other scenarios? Blockchain and Bitcoin. ”
In April 2020, Italian-Cuban businessman Mario Mazzola launched Cuba’s first decentralized Bitcoin exchange, Qbita. According to Mazzola, the new exchange aims to allow Cubans to buy and sell Bitcoin, as the main cryptomoeda services, such as LocalBitcoins and Paxful, are not accessible in the country.