How Bitcoin Is Becoming a Lifeline for Cubans

Leigh Cuen and Boaz Sobrado discuss the informal peer-to-peer development of the cryptocurrency markets in Cuba and how the internet penetration in Cuba is accelerating bitcoin adoption.

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This week on "Borderless," tech reporter Leigh Cuen speaks with data analyst and entrepreneur Boaz Sobrado about how bitcoin became relevant to him when he had to use it at his e-commerce company.

With the changes in the U.S. presidential administration in 2016 and the strict regulations that followed it became harder to bank in Cuba. Processing payments and conducting proper international transactions were causing his company to bleed money. So Boaz turned to bitcoin to move money in and out of the country safely and provide commerce to Cuban communities.

However, bitcoin adoption in Cuba turned out to be harder than he thought. Due to COVID-19, Cuba is undergoing the worst economic crisis since the 1990s. At that time Cuba’s economic structure was so atrocious that portions of its population suffered from hunger. Boaz says, “We aren’t there yet” that it isn’t as bad as the crisis of the 1990s. However, with Western Union remittance rates going down there is less and less money in the country. This has caused inflation to rise and product delivery to the country of Cuba to become more difficult.

Listen as Sobrado discusses the informal peer-to-peer development of the cryptocurrency markets in Cuba and how the internet penetration in Cuba is accelerating bitcoin adoption.

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