Come September 15 2021, Cuba will recognize and regulate cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, for payments on the island.
Resolution 215, which was published in the state-run Official Gazette, said the central bank will set new rules for how to deal with digital currencies and determine how to license providers of related services within the country.
Once authorized, financial institutions and others will be able to use crypto to carry out monetary and commercial operations, and to satisfy financial obligations, the resolution said.
According to Dr. Mrinalini Tankha, a professor of anthropology at Portland State University, sending and receiving money between the U.S. and Cuba became extremely difficult under the Trump administration.
The resolution says the Central Bank can authorise the use of cryptocurrencies “for reasons of socioeconomic interest” but with the state assuring that their operations are controlled. It also explicitly noted that operations could not involve illegal activities.
Cryptocurrencies, which can wildly soar and depreciate in value, are mostly independent of any central bank and use widely distributed blockchain computer codes to keep track of transfers.
Programmer and local cryptocurrency expert, Erich García said some Cubans are already using such devices, often via gift cards, for online purchases.
“The impact that the use of cryptocurrencies has had in Cuba from two years to now has been impressive. It has escalated in its use, in its interpretation, in what it is,” noted García
According to unofficial estimates, some 10,000 Cubans use Bitcoins, making it one of the most widely used cryptocurrencies in the country.
The Central American nation of El Salvador became the first country to recognize the use of cryptocurrency for remittances from the diaspora.