Cubans are interested in Bitcoin, as they do not have access to other important digital payment options such as PayPal.
Cuba is witnessing a wave of Bitcoin-related activities (BTC) while interest in cryptocurrency is growing in the country.
According to Google Trends data, Cuba is now in second place in terms of interest in Bitcoin in the last 30 days. The island state follows Nigeria, which since April 2020 occupies the first position in the ranking of searches for Bitcoin on Google.
Other countries in the top five rankings include South Africa, Cameroon and Ghana.
Google search data for the term „bitcoin“
The increase in research in Cuba comes after the publication of several reports that illustrate how Cubans are increasingly relying on Bitcoin to circumvent the sanctions imposed by the United States and gain access to digital financial services. Since major digital payment companies such as PayPal and Stripe are not available to Cuban citizens, travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic have made local payments even more complicated.
In late October, a local programmer and YouTuber, Erich García, invited the nation to use Bitcoin for cross-border remittances, arguing that anyone wishing to send payments to the island should buy Bitcoin and transfer them via a Cuban crypto exchange called BitRemesas:
„We do not have access to payment platforms such as Stripe, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal or Union Pay. We do not have access to anything, to any of these resources. What technology has allowed us to dream, to see other scenarios? The blockchain and Bitcoin.“
In April 2020, the Italian-Cuban entrepreneur Mario Mazzola launched the first decentralized Bitcoin exchange in Cuba, Qbita. According to Mazzola, the new platform aims to allow Cuban citizens to buy and sell Bitcoin, since the main crypto services such as LocalBitcoins and Paxful are not accessible in the country.