As per a Reuters report, the communist government of Cuba is considering the use of cryptocurrency in its operations.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel made the announcement during a state-run TV roundtable interview. His minister for economy, Alejandro Gil Fernandez said:
“We are studying the potential use of cryptocurrency … in our national and international commercial transactions, and we are working on that together with academics.”
The world’s last run Soviet-style command economy is also a holder to one other infamous title. The island nation has endured the world’s longest-standing embargo from the US. Known natively as “el bloqueo,” it is a product of the US’s best approach to its adversaries; gradual economic strangulation. The blockade that has run since the ’60s is said to have cost Cuba in trade revenue over $125 billion.
The opening of their respective embassies in both nations, tensions between the two neighbors had waned during Obama’s administration. However, US president Donald Trump has once more fuelled former hostilities with the island nation. His administration has declared what are the most severe sanctions the US has had against Cuba since the 1962 economic embargo.
Cryptocurrency to Keep Cuba Trade Running
Consequently, non-family travel to the Island nation has been cut off. Additionally, Cuban Americans cannot send home cash remittances above $1000 a person per quarter. The crypto move by the Diaz-Canel government is therefore meant to boost the nation’s economy amidst great distress caused by the sanctions.
Digital assets enable anonymous transactions, meaning they are immune to capital controls. Through crypto, Cuba will possibly keep its economy running, especially in the areas of tourism and foreign investments, most targeted by the sanctions.
Bitcoin bull John McAfee is over the moon over the announcement. McAfee has been hiding out in Cuba over allegations of tax evasion. Pledging his support for the crypto use in Cuba, he tweeted:
“Cuba is planning to use cryptocurrency to get around the 63 years of economic strangulation imposed upon 14 million Cuban people by the insanity of the US Government. Finally, a large scale, real-world application for Cryptocurrencies. If Cuba wants my help, I am here.”
Venezuela, Cuba’s top ally has in the past introduced the Petro to survive US-led sanctions and an over-inflated native currency. The token’s usage has, nevertheless, not taken off, especially after the US administration banned its citizens from purchasing it.
Asian Countries Deep in Cryptocurrency Use
Away from the Americas, the Asian continent is home to some of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency supporters. From Japan to Iran and other parts of the continent, numerous nations have been planning their own cryptocurrency.
The West Asian nation of Iran has also been under US sanctions for ages. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that it is also a great cryptocurrency supporter. It has proposed a state-backed digital asset through the Kuknos protocol for the Paymon token.
Japan is perhaps the most crypto bullish nation on earth. Shinzo Abe, Prime minister, has vowed to work towards a 40 percent cashless payments economy by 2025. Pundits believe that Japan is pushing crypto adoption for this purpose. The Island nation has shrugged off the use of credit and mobile payments in the past. Nevertheless, the East Asian nation has championed BTC use for payments.
With the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group backed blockchain based payment network, it is highly probable the country will either adopt Bitcoin as their native crypto or design their own to meet the demand.
China, the biggest and most populous nation seems to have a love/hate relationship with digital currency. On the one hand, they have a hardline stance against yet the nation is also home to some of the largest BTC mining pools on earth. While crypto exchanges are banned, the East Asian country is a global leader in blockchain projects. The Blockchain Research Institute’s Donald Tapscott has stated that China is preparing the renminbi (RMB), its native currency to work as its cryptocurrency.