Cubans are now able to download a digital wallet to store Bitcoin, integrate a cryptocurrency payment gateway on websites and buy and sell BTC on a peer-to-peer exchange. The three crypto services are powered by QBita, developed by Italian-Cuban entrepreneur Mario Mazzola. The company launched Cuba’s first peer-to-peer Bitcoin (BTC) exchange earlier this month.
QBita is focused on enabling Cubans who have been impacted by US sanctions.
The US Treasury Department ramped up sanctions against Cuba in September of 2019, imposing more stringent measures to reduce access to money. The sanctions have placed a cap of $1,000 that one remitter can send to one Cuban national every three months.
According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin,
“We are taking additional steps to financially isolate the Cuban regime. The United States holds the Cuban regime accountable for its oppression of the Cuban people and support of other dictatorships throughout the region, such as the illegitimate Maduro regime. Through these regulatory amendments, Treasury is denying Cuba access to hard currency, and we are curbing the Cuban government’s bad behavior while continuing to support the long-suffering people of Cuba.”
The team at QBita characterizes Bitcoin as a lifeline in light of the US blockade and Cuba’s inability to access fintech platforms.
“Bitcoin in Cuba is a real necessity, to mitigate the problems of financial exclusion that the Cuban people suffer due to the economic and commercial blockade imposed unilaterally and illegally by the United States.
As a direct consequence of these sanctions, in 2019 Cubans still do not have access to many modern financial services such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal, Skrill, Stripe or other international electronic payment gateways.
The development of the QBita Bitcoin Wallet was inspired by the heroic resistance of the Cuban people, who face financial censorship from the powerful enemy of the North.”
Qbita’s new peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange allows users on the platform to buy and sell BTC from each other. The decentralized exchange is non-custodial, giving users full control of their own cryptocurrency and their own private keys. Website owners are also able to integrate the QBita wallet as a Bitcoin payment gateway for all types of e-commerce portals.
The company says users can be up and running with the “click of a few buttons”. Qbita runs a full Bitcoin node and is planning to introduce Lightning Network transactions later this year.
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