In Cuba’s capital, Havana, a Bitcoin community has emerged as a response to the country’s struggling economy. The Cuban peso has devalued significantly over the past few years, leading many Cubans to turn to Bitcoin as a store of value.
The Cuban peso’s devaluation has made carrying bags of cash a common occurrence among both the rich and the poor. Even if someone had bought Bitcoin at its peak in 2021, their money would still be worth more than the Cuban peso, which has devalued by 90%.
Bitcoin’s stateless and low-fee properties have made it an attractive option for Cubans looking to save money and escape financial oppression. Cubans are learning about Bitcoin through word-of-mouth and peer-to-peer networks, as they do not have easy access to cryptocurrency exchanges.
Despite the challenges, the Cuban Bitcoin community is growing, with an estimated 5,000 Bitcoiners in the country. Saving even small amounts in Bitcoin can be meaningful for Cubans, given their low monthly income. The peer-to-peer process of buying and storing Bitcoin also offers a level of privacy and security that is lacking in traditional financial systems.
The Cuban government’s restrictions on internet connectivity and online access have been a barrier to Bitcoin adoption. While internet access has improved in recent years, censorship and propaganda from the state-run media still prevail. Independent media publications are labeled as “enemy propaganda,” and journalists who speak out against the government face consequences.
However, some Cubans were exposed to Bitcoin through broadcasts on the Russia Today news channel. Bitcoin advocates within Cuba’s Bitcoin community also work to educate others about the benefits and principles of Bitcoin. They believe that Bitcoin offers an alternative to the country’s financial struggles and can empower Cubans to take control of their own finances.
The Cuba Bitcoin community hosts regular meetups and educational programs to encourage more Cubans to explore Bitcoin. Their goal is not just to promote Bitcoin as a tool for economic stability but also to share the ideology behind Bitcoin, highlighting its decentralized and borderless nature.
While Bitcoin may not have been created specifically for Cubans, it has certainly come in handy for them in navigating their economic challenges. As the Cuban peso continues to devalue, Bitcoin offers a glimmer of hope and financial freedom for many Cubans.