Cryptocurrency operations and blockchain-based platforms have emerged as an alternative to bad government management and economic crises. The crypto market has quietly won hundreds of consumers in the Cuban digital ecosystem. Given this reality, CubaCripto arises, a community of Cuban enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and networkers, created at the end of 2018, with the purpose of promoting digital finance and entrepreneurship on the Caribbean island
Alex Sobrino, founder and leader of “CubaCrypto”, explains that the Cuban market develops among the same users that make it up, accumulating capital received from previous investments and trading operations.
“We are not an exchange, we are the first crypto community in Cuba.”
Sobrino also noted that, despite the rise of these trading tools, the performance of cryptocurrencies on the Caribbean island is still quite limited, since they have no support from any entity (and much less from the Government). When evaluating BTC’s context, he says that it is quite poor, for they lack a large market.
In his opinion, the main drawbacks to be faced are the lack of government support and media’s misinformation since in the digital portals there is not much talk about this issue. Any coup caused by the Cuban government could seriously affect the market within the country.
Sobrino points out that CubaCripto does not have a physical headquarters. Its vital space is the Telegram messaging network (initially it was WhatsApp) and its members are from several provinces of the country, some of them located abroad.
He adds that the CubaCripto chats become virtual classrooms, exchange centers or strategy discussions. The most prepared and novices who want to learn to participate, always on alert to study each initiative, and avoid the recurring scams that abound in the network.
In this sense, he explains that the community is segmented into several specialized channels by subject, where they talk about cryptocurrencies, Forex, and other strategies associated with what Sobrino calls “cryptocurrency finance”.
How have cryptocurrencies helped Cuba?
It is undeniable that digital assets have changed the economic possibilities. Around the benefits that cryptocurrencies have brought to the Cuban market, Sobrino stressed that they have replaced electronic payment methods, because in Cuba they have restricted access to Visa and Master cards Card “Our cards do not work to make online payments on international platforms, much less in retail stores.”
Another advantage, he said, is that it has allowed the creation of communities, teaching on the subject of cryptocurrencies, as well as using them as a way to obtain more income and profits. “Our salaries are very poor (between 20 and 30 CUC) and despite the salary increases, it is not enough. Therefore, we have tried to encourage the use of cryptocurrencies, despite official silence.”
He explains that in Cuba there are two official currencies: the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) and the Cuban peso (CUP). The first began to circulate in 1994, is equivalent to the US dollar and was intended for foreigners to use in the payment of products or services on the island. The second is known as the national currency because it is more used among Cubans.
Sobrino says that it is complex to operate taking into account the scarce resources, although, with a 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM phone, with between 8 and 16 GB of storage, a screen of at least five inches and an operating system that supports applications, it can be operated perfectly.
He explains that the slow Internet connection speed, together with the limited coverage and high consumption of data packets, greatly influence the process. This can cause significant losses if the orders cannot be placed on time or the market suffers a sudden fall.
“Trading tools consume quite a few megabytes (MB), and not every day is profit. If we add to that the speed of the network and poor coverage in some areas, we would be working only to pay for the Internet.”
Some cryptocurrencies stand out
Cubracrypto’s leader explained that the most used cryptocurrencies on the island are ETH, Litecoin and BTC.
In addition, Sobrino stressed that a broader community is needed for cryptocurrencies to become an extended payment method. But that projects such as CubaCripto, PIVX, Steem and other groups visible on the networks, are discovering an expanding movement with users from different backgrounds.
Crypto’s future in Cuba
As for the short and medium-term perspectives, Sobrino said they expect CubaCrypto to grow and become a great community. They aim to help find financial independence, advise and guide anyone who needs it, in addition to contributing to the economic and social development of the country and working together for a sustainable economy.
On the other hand, in the long term, it plans to found an academy to teach finance, trading and everything related to cryptocurrencies, that is, to educate Cuban society financially.
In terms of legality, he asserted that the Cuban Constitution, on one hand, supports the freedom to create groups and meet, as long as they do not affect the development and functioning of the Government’s revolutionary thinking.