Cuba will recognize and regulate cryptocurrency

August 27, 2021, 9:49 PM UTC
The Cuban creator of Bitremesas, Erich Garcia, shows how the use his internet platform during an interview with AFP in Havana on October 17, 2020. - Through Bitremesas, people outside Cuba can buy Bitcoins for their relatives in the island nation, who then sell the crypto-currency to local buyers for cash and thus avoid restrictions on remittances. (Photo by Adalberto ROQUE / AFP) (Photo by ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP via Getty Images)

Cuba’s government said Thursday in its Official Gazette that it would recognize and regulate cryptocurrencies for payments in the island nation.

The country’s central bank said Friday it is drafting legislation to regulate cryptocurrency in commercial transactions and to issue licenses for providers of services connected with virtual assets.

Since the Trump administration toughened embargo rules and President Biden has increased pressure on Cuba’s government it has been harder for citizens to use U.S. dollars for purchases. Because cryptocurrency is digital and not tied to any country or government, tech savvy Cubans could use crypto to evade government regulations.

Cuba is not the only country experimenting with cryptocurrency regulation. Politicians in several other Latin American countries including Paraguay, Mexico, and Panama have in the past expressed interest in more broadly incorporating cryptocurrency in their countries.

Next month, El Salvador will adopt Bitcoin as legal tender alongside its main currency, the U.S. dollar.

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