Cuba is clearly seeing an increase in Bitcoin-related (BTC) activity as interest in Bitcoin grows in the country.
According to Google Trends, Cuba now has the second highest interest in bitcoin in the last 30 days. The island nation is Nigeria, which became the first country to start searching for bitcoins on Google in April 2020.
The other five regions of Google that search for bitcoin include the African countries of South Africa, Cameroon and Ghana.
The rise in Bitcoin-related searches in Cuba comes amid reports that Cubans are increasingly turning to Bitcoin to bypass US sanctions and gain access to digital financial services. With large digital payment companies like PayPal and Stripe out of reach for Cuban citizens, the coronavirus-related travel restrictions have made domestic payments more difficult.
In late October, local programmer and youtuber Erich Garcia urged the country to use bitcoins for cross-border transfers, arguing that anyone who wants to send payments to the island should buy bitcoins and send them through a Cuban cryptocurrency exchange called BitRemesas:
“We don’t have access to payment platforms like Stripe, Visa, Mastercard, Paypal or Union Pay. We have no access to anything or any of these resources. What technologies have allowed us to dream and see other scenarios? Blockchain and Bitcoin? ”
In April 2020, Italian Cuban businessman Mario Mazola launched the first decentralized bitcoin exchange in Cuba – Qbita. The new exchange is meant to allow Cubans to buy and sell bitcoins, Mazzola said, as major crypto services like LocalBitcoins and Paxful do not have access to the country.