The Central Bank of Cuba has announced that the use of “certain virtual assets in commercial transactions” is enabled throughout the country. The resolution, signed by Marta Sabina Wilson González, president of the entity, leaves several aspects unclear, such as which cryptocurrencies can be used and which cannot, as well as the quotation that must be taken into account for operations.
According to the provisions of the extraordinary official gazette
of Thursday, August 26, the Central Bank of Cuba understands virtual assets as “digital representation of value that can be traded or transferred digitally and used for payments or investments”. This term includes “various meanings used for the same purposes, such as digital asset, cryptoasset, cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency, virtual currency and digital currency,” the document details.
The text leaves several ambiguities regarding which cryptocurrencies or tokens will be valid, although it is understood that bitcoin
(BTC) and ether (ETH) will be accepted, as they are the two most recognized and valued cryptocurrencies. It is also not specified which asset price will be taken into account when making a transaction.
On the other hand, the regulation does not make it mandatory for traders to accept cryptocurrencies. In the third introductory paragraph of the resolution, it is clarified that Decree-Law 361 of 2018 provides in its articles 60 and 63 that the Cuban peso is the only legal currency in the territory of that country. Therefore, it is the only one whose adoption is mandatory.
One of the main factors driving this measure could be the difficulty to send and receive remittances from abroad in dollars, according to Cuban media. This problem began during the presidency of Donald Trump
in the United States and was aggravated by the economic problems caused by the pandemic caused by Covid-19. Fragment of the official Gazette of Cuba in which the use of cryptocurrencies by the inhabitants of the country is recognized. Source: Official Gazette of Cuba.
Details of the use of virtual assets in Cuba
With respect to operations with virtual assets, these may be carried out between financial institutions, legal entities and natural persons only for certain operations previously authorized by the Central Bank of Cuba
On the other hand
The text grants the license to operate to “virtual asset service providers for operations related to financial, exchange and collection or payment activities, in and from the national territory”. State agencies, political and social organizations must refrain from using virtual assets and their services, according to the Official Gazette.
Finally, the resolution of August 26, 2021, which will come into force “20 days after its publication,” states that the organizational units of the Central Bank of Cuba will inform about “the intrinsic risks” of the unauthorized use of virtual assets and their possible consequences.
The evolution of bitcoin in Cuba
As reported by CryptoNews, the Communist Party of Cuba (PPC) reported in April 2021 that it will include bitcoin in the new economic guidelines for the period 2021 – 2026. On that occasion, a state official reported that the Caribbean nation will study the use of cryptocurrencies “in the current conditions of the economy.”
Meanwhile, in the midst of the protests that took place this year in the Central American country, many Cubans took advantage of the use of cryptocurrencies to make donations to those in vulnerable health situations. This media reported on the action of a group of volunteers from Matanzas, one of the areas most affected by the pandemic, for the purchase of hygiene items, food and medicines.