In one of the world’s toughest business environments, private businesses in Cuba have the potential to benefit from the cryptocurrency revolution. Erich Garcia Cruz, a Cuban businessperson and Bitcoin advocate, believes that Bitcoin adoption could grow in Cuba, especially if private businesses recognize the advantages of accepting Bitcoin as a currency. According to Cruz, using Bitcoin in Cuba serves as a tool for individuals to break free from the constraints of the country’s centrally planned and officially communist economy.
Cuba faces challenges such as limited access to independent press and the United States trade embargo, which restricts Cubans from accessing American products, services, and applications. In contrast, Bitcoin operates independently from the state and lacks a central authority. Cruz suggests that the Cuban government might already understand the power of Bitcoin and may even explore using it to bypass international sanctions through internet-based transactions.
Since 2021, the Cuban government has shown some openness to cryptocurrencies, allowing private businesses to legally accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for goods and services. Cruz advocates for more private companies to embrace cryptocurrency instead of the Cuban peso or moneda libremente convertible (MLC), a freely convertible currency. The Cuban peso has experienced a significant devaluation since its inception, while Bitcoin has maintained or increased its purchasing power, making it a more attractive alternative for savings.
Despite the potential benefits, Bitcoin faces a negative reputation in Cuba due to previous scams associated with crypto projects. The country has a well-educated population, with free university education, but limited exposure to Western influences and a relatively recent introduction to the internet. Cruz’s focus, along with the Cuban Bitcoin community, is on educating and encouraging private businesses to adopt Bitcoin, as there is currently no law prohibiting them from doing so.
Cruz’s insights and experiences will be featured in an upcoming documentary on Bitcoin in Cuba.