Category Archives: Cuba

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Cuba’s New Wi-Fi Regulations Could Open Doors For Bitcoin

wi-fi, cuba, bitcoin, cryptocurrency

With Cuba’s announcement that it will be legalizing private Wi-Fi networks, this could spell some major changes for a country whose cryptocurrency profile is currently akin to the dark ages.

Even without private Wi-Fi, Cuba is starting from ground zero, and the only way is up in terms of formulating some kind of environment to attract cryptocurrency trading in the future.

The government’s announcement that for the first time routers will be permitted to be imported in from elsewhere is a significant change from having to smuggle equipment into the country. However, the state censors will still be vigilant and when it comes to crypto, a marathon lies ahead for ICOs and new startups.

With a Bitcoin analysis tool setting Cuba on number 236 out of 249 countries by crypto-related activity safety, they emerge with a frightening 0.8/10 safety rank, clearly indicating the distance traveled; not very far.

Under these new plans the state’s telecommunications company, ETECSA will still be requiring citizens wanting to plug into the state infrastructure using Wi-Fi to have a permit to do so. Cuba is so far behind countries like the US that until 2013, the internet was only available at hot spots for tourists, although this is gradually improving at least allowing some access to mobile internet, possibly to aid tourism, which is still a necessary cross to bear for the state due to much-needed revenue.

Unlike many South American nations which have been able to grab on to cryptocurrency and make it work for them in some difficult economic circumstances, tight controls in Cuba have not afforded this luxury.

Cuba has a very long way to go on the crypto march but the new legislation may just be the beginning.

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Internet Comes to Cuba, Will Cubans Comes to Crypto?

Internet Comes to Cuba, Will Cubans Comes to Crypto?

Thursday, 6 December 2018, marks a milestone in the history of Cuba; for the first time, residents will have access to the internet on their mobile phones, potentially to cryptocurrencies also.

With relevant news still breaking, there are no clear answers yet which cryptocurrency exchanges will be accessible in the region, although presumably there will be no firewall restrictions.

Estimates have nearly half of the country’s 11.2 million residents owning mobile phones, although the number that can afford internet access is considerably lower. The state-run telecoms monopoly ETECSA announced two internet packages. The cheapest is a 600 MB, 30-day deal for CUP 7 (Cuban peso worth about USD 0.26), compared to the average state wage which stands at USD 30 per month.

Still, this is an enormous potential for growth of the cryptocurrency industry to enter a new country if citizens are inclined to invest, which may well be the case considering the Communist-led Cuban state is thought to restrict autonomy for people’s economic lives.

One of the reasons the government has restricted access to the internet in the past is its concerns regarding information flows into the country, which it feared could lead to political dissent. This has held the country back significantly in terms of technology. Cuba’s capital city Havana, famous for its vintage American cars, shows just how far this lack of modern resources reaches.

Wi-fi access has slowly been growing across the country in recent years as small modernizations begin to appear, with internet even being offered in a few cybercafes. Mobile phone access gives rise to the opportunity of mobile banking, however, and blockchain-backed wallets.

The quality of the internet service itself and the accessibility of it for the majority of the population is still a big issue, but maybe we will be seeing the first Bitcoin accepted here sign in the city sooner rather than later.

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A Traveler’s Guide: How to See the World With Bitcoin in 2018

After software developer Felix Weiss from Luxembourg attracted worldwide attention two years ago, by traveling the world with Bitcoin at his disposal, Hard Fork asks the question: Has this feat become easier in 2018?

When Weiss left on his world trip in January 2015 Bitcoin had crashed to around $200 per BTC, but started to slowly climb back en-route which he said had helped him to complete his 18-month journey. He said that the easiest country had been the US, particularly San Francisco, where Bitcoin acceptance was widespread around the city.

He struggled in Cuba having to revert to cash. In Asia, he said his cash usage again was high and found a higher degree of Bitcoin acceptance in South America.

Hard Fork’s Neer Varshney researched how this picture might pan out in today’s crypto space by contacting airlines: the first port of call for any travelers. He found that there are multiple airlines accepting cryptocurrency payments including CheapAir.com, who started accepting cryptocurrency payments as far back as 2013. The company now accepts Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Dash payments.

Other companies offering cryptocurrency booking services included Expedia, BTCtrip.com, Destinia.com, Japan’s Peach Aviation, California’s Surf Air, and Latvia’s airBaltic, and A Bit Sky.

Finding a placed to stay has become even easier as most of these companies also allow you to pay in crypto for accommodation too, although it depends on exactly which part of the world the traveler chooses.

Eating is not quite such a simple affair with limited restaurants and cafes around the globe accepting Bitcoin and other currencies. Although, CoinMap can help travelers find a Bitcoin-accepting venue for the next meal. La Sirene in Manhattan now accepts Bitcoin. Some companies now offer a gift card service which can be used to purchase food coupons for Bitcoin.

Shopping has become easier with many online stores now accepting the popular cryptocurrency, and as revealed in the last week if you land in Brisbane, the International airport there will be welcoming crypto payments in all its terminal shops and cafe’s this year.

The last resort, of course, is to hunt down a Bitcoin ATM. This is good news for the traveler, as there are now over 3000 such ATMs worldwide, and if South America is the list, then Argentina must be a destination for the discerning Bitcoin traveler, with its plan to install 30,000 machines in that country alone. Europe and the US are increasingly installing machines to keep up with customer demand, most machines offering Bitcoin and often a choice of other major digital currencies.

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