In the economically troubled city of Havana, Cuba, a Bitcoin community has emerged as a response to the country’s worsening financial situation. As the value of the Cuban peso continues to decline, Cubans are turning to Bitcoin as a more stable and reliable form of currency. While countries like Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and Lebanon often dominate the headlines for their high levels of inflation, the Cuban peso is not far behind.
The devaluation of the Cuban peso has reached such an extreme that carrying significant amounts of cash is now commonplace for both the rich and the poor. In comparison, even if someone had bought Bitcoin at its peak price of $69,000 in 2021, their investment would still be worth more than the Cuban peso. Despite experiencing an 80% drop during the bear market, Bitcoin has since recovered and even increased in value, while the peso has lost 90% of its value.
The Cuban Bitcoin community, known as Cuba Bitcoin, has gained a significant following in recent years. Thousands of enthusiasts and advocates have joined the community, hoping to utilize Bitcoin to escape the country’s financial oppression. The community’s co-founder, Forte, acknowledges that Bitcoin was not created specifically for Cubans but emphasizes how it has proven to be incredibly useful for them.
The use of Bitcoin in Cuba is not without its challenges. Cubans face obstacles when trying to access cryptocurrency platforms due to their nationality. Cuban Americans living in Cuba also face restrictions on accessing American websites, making it difficult to sign up for popular exchanges like Binance or Coinbase. As a result, many Cubans turn to peer-to-peer transactions through platforms like Telegram or WhatsApp to acquire Bitcoin.
Despite the difficulties, Cubans are determined to adopt Bitcoin as a means of saving and protecting their finances. Even small amounts of Bitcoin can make a meaningful difference in a country where the average monthly income is as low as $40. While the adoption process may be slow and not beginner-friendly, Cubans find solace in the privacy and security that buying and storing Bitcoin themselves provides.
Cuba’s limited connectivity and internet censorship further complicate the adoption of Bitcoin. While internet access has improved in recent years, the Cuban government heavily restricts online content and promotes state-run media that often portrays independent media publications as “enemy propaganda.” Cubans who do manage to access the internet use VPNs to bypass restrictions and gain access to information that is otherwise suppressed.
Despite these challenges, the Bitcoin message has reached some Cubans through unconventional means. Bitcoin proponent Max Keiser’s appearances on the Russia Today news channel were approved for broadcast in Cuba, leading some Cubans to become interested in Bitcoin after hearing his critiques of fiat currencies.
Bitcoin advocates in Cuba, such as Bitalion, who works in telecommunications for the government, are working tirelessly to educate and support Bitcoin adoption. They believe that Bitcoin’s decentralized nature and stateless properties align with the country’s desire for financial independence. The Cuba Bitcoin community regularly hosts educational meetups to explain the principles and philosophy of Bitcoin and encourage more Cubans to explore its potential.
Bitcoin has become more than just a tool for financial stability in Cuba. It has become a catalyst for hope and a symbol of liberation in a country that has long been isolated from the global economy. As the Cuban Bitcoin community continues to grow, it remains to be seen how this digital revolution will impact the future of the Cuban economy and its people.