Cubans adopting Bitcoin to escape ‘The Matrix’.

A Cuban businessperson and Bitcoin advocate, Erich Garcia Cruz, believes that Bitcoin adoption could increase in Cuba if private businesses recognize the benefits of accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as currency. Cruz is the leader of BitRemesas and QvaPay, remittance and money transfer services, and has been advocating for the use of Bitcoin by Cuban citizens since 2020.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Cruz explained that Cubans can use Bitcoin as a tool and that ultimately, it’s about getting “out from the Matrix,” referring to the country’s centrally planned and officially communist economy. While some Cubans use Bitcoin as a store of value, a means of exchange, or a remittance tool, Bitcoin is money independent of the state and has no leader or central party, making it an attractive option for Cubans.

The Cuban government has been warming up to cryptocurrencies since 2021, as private businesses can legally accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin for goods and services. Cruz believes that more private companies should accept cryptocurrency instead of the Cuban peso (CUP) or moneda libremente convertible (MLC) — freely convertible currency:

“If you get paid with CUP or MLC, you are solving the customer’s problem, but you are creating a problem for you because owners are saying that then or later they will try to convert the CLP or MLC into international currency.”

The Cuban peso has devalued by more than 800% since its inception. If a Cuban bought Bitcoin at its all-time high of $69,000, they would still have more value in Bitcoin than pesos. Moreover, the MLC is a government-backed stablecoin used for purchases in state-run supermarkets. Cubans looking to save money typically do so in the U.S. dollar and, increasingly, Bitcoin.

Despite the huge currency devaluation, Bitcoin suffers from a bad reputation in Cuba due to previous crypto scams. Cruz’s work, and that of the Cuban Bitcoin community, targets private businesses in Cuba, making it an area in which Bitcoin adoption could thrive. There is currently no law forbidding businesses from accepting Bitcoin in Cuba.

Cruz will be interviewed in an upcoming documentary about Bitcoin in Cuba.

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