Bitcoin empowers remittances in Cuba even on bicycles
Bitcoin power and decentralised finance by Blockchain technology are evident in Cuba for sending remittances to docmicilio.
A new Caribbean ingenuity has come to the fore thanks to the power of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology that has been used for some time to send remittances to the socialist island, as detailed in Yahoo News in its October 22, 2020 edition.
As if it were a pizza delivery or some kind of order, Bitcoin’s ‚enthusiasts‘ on the island deliver the fiat money to the door of the benefactors‘ house, on a bicycle if necessary, in order to get hold of the cryptomoney, in a process that is revolutionizing finance from the inside.
Bitremesas, a platform that connects Bitcoin buyers and sellers between the island and outsiders, devised by a 33-year-old Cuban programmer, has been the new lifeline for bringing remittances from the United States to residents who have been isolated from traditional financial products for more than half a century by both political and health situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The portal allows those who own Bitcoin outside the island and who need to send their remittances to relatives inside Cuba to match in a controlled marketplace, through the natural bridge of those who are willing to give fiat money in exchange for the bidding BTCs.
In only three steps, the sender manages to automatically and without any financial entity in between, get the funds to their relatives inside the island, which are taken to their home’s door in case they do not have bank accounts, by means that are perhaps not very conventional for many western countries: Bicycles.
How does the process work?
Whoever sends the money must enter the Bitremesas platform, and send their Bitcoins to an electronic wallet arranged by the platform, as Cointelegraph had reported last September in an interview with its founder.
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It then links via social networks such as WhatsApp or Telegram, to ‚enthusiastic‘ Bitcoin buyers who hold the equivalent trust money for the amount of the remittance, to complete the transaction in a ’negative bid‘, which can cost BTC buyers up to a quarter of the transaction amount, in order to take over the cryptomoney.
Thus, the winners of the bid transfer or take the equivalent BTCs in local island currency to the final remittance recipients to their doorstep at Bicicleta, if necessary, in order to complete the transaction, use a ‚good reputation‘ and complete a cycle that seems to be becoming increasingly common among residents of the small Latin American country.
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Erich Garcia, the 33-year-old programmer and Youtuber, is responsible for shaping this system that seeks to circumvent the financial sanctions imposed on the island’s government, which he says has found in Bitcoin and Blockchain technology the opportunity to ‚dream‘.
„We don’t have access to payment platforms, neither with Stripe, nor with Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Union Pay, we don’t have access to anything, to any of those resources. What technology has allowed us to dream, to see other scenarios? The blockchain, the bitcoin“, says Erich.
It is estimated that on the Caribbean island there are some ten thousand Cubans who use bitcoins, mainly for online transactions, something impossible to do with Cuban bank cards.
However, due to the strong restrictions imposed by the socialist system, many do so clandestinely and with scepticism, so they prefer not to comment on their experiences.