Cuba is set to recognize and regulate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as means of payment. This is detailed in a ministry of justice resolution published on Thursday. The resolution is signed by the central bank’s minister president Marta Sabina Wilson González.
The document, which was published in the Official Gazette, details that the central bank will provide a framework to determine how to license financial service providers for the facilitation of cryptocurrency transactions. The central bank can further authorize Bitcoin transactions “for reasons of socioeconomic interest” while maintaining state control of its operations.
Cuba’s president Miguel Díaz Canel reportedly already considered the use of cryptocurrencies back in May, citing the “convenience” of their use as part of the country’s economy.
The Central American nation has been hit with a number of U.S. restrictions in recent years; only in July of this year, President Biden ordered a review of Trump-era policies that restrict the options for U.S.-Cuba remittances.
Remittances to Cuba are estimated to be around $2 to $3 billion a year.
The global remittance sector has shown rapidly growing interest in Bitcoin and stablecoins like USDt as they provide a considerably cheaper and faster option for overseas workers to send money home to their families when compared to leading remittance service providers like Western Union.
Cuba is somewhat following in the footsteps of El Salvador with its latest move, although it falls short of recognizing Bitcoin as legal tender. The resolution clarifies that “the monetary unit of the Republic of Cuba is the Cuban peso, and that the banknotes and metallic coins issued by the Central Bank of Cuba are the only ones that have legal tender status.”
Bitcoin has gained popularity in Cuba among citizens looking to move their savings out of the country’s weak currency; a growing number of people already uses Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for payments or to receive their salary. Data released by TradingView earlier this year indicated that more than half (50.4%) of all inquiries on the platform from within Cuba were cryptocurrency-related.