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Cuba’s Bitcoin (BTC)-related activities have increased significantly because of the country’s growing interest in Bitcoin.
According to data from Google Trends, in the past 30 days, Cuba’s Bitcoin search volume ranked second. The island country is second only to Nigeria, which has been the country with the most Bitcoin searches on Google since April 2020.
The top five countries in Google’s Bitcoin search volume also include African countries South Africa, Cameroon and Ghana.
“Bitcoin” search data on Google Source: Google
As the number of Bitcoin-related searches in Cuba is rising, there are reports that more and more Cubans are turning to Bitcoin to circumvent sanctions imposed by the United States and obtain digital financial services. According to reports, because Cuban nationals cannot use the services of major digital payment companies such as PayPal and Stripe, Cuban local payment methods have also become more complicated due to travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In late October, local programmer and YouTube user Erich García called on the country to use Bitcoin for cross-border remittances, claiming that anyone who wants to send money to Cuba should buy Bitcoin and then remit it through the Cuban cryptocurrency exchange BitRemesas:
“We can’t get the services of payment platforms such as Stripe, Visa, Mastercard, Paypal or Union Pay. We can’t use any resources. What kind of technology can make us realize our dreams, and are there other solutions? Blockchain and Bitcoin.”
In April 2020, Italian-Cuban entrepreneur Mario Mazzola launched Qbita, Cuba’s first decentralized bitcoin exchange. According to Mazzola, the Qbita exchange aims to allow Cubans to trade Bitcoin because the country cannot use the encryption services of major trading platforms such as LocalBitcoins and Paxful.