The Internet Finally Makes Its Way to Cuba, but How Will Cubans Embrace Bitcoin and Blockchain?
December 6, 2018, will be a major milestone for the history of Cuba. It will be the first time that residents are able to access the internet on their mobile devices. This could potentially let Cubans embrace crypto. With the news still breaking, no exchange has made a push to access the region. However, it is presumed that there will not be any firewall restrictions.
It is estimated that about half of all the 11.2 million Cubans own a mobile phone. However, the number that can afford to access the internet is quite low. ETECSA, the state-run telecoms company announced two packages for those who wish to access the internet. The cheapest package costs $600 and will last for 30 days at 7 Cuban Peso or about USD 0.26. In Cuba, the state wage is USD30 a month.
However, there is still huge potential for growth of the crypto sector as it could potentially enter Cuba if citizens decide to invest in crypto. This might be the case since Cuba has one of the biggest restrictions on people’s lives. It is conceivable that citizens might opt to use crypto to gain economic freedom.
A major reason the government controls the people’s lives is that it is concerned about information flow into Cuba. It feared this might cause political dissent. As a result, Cuba has been largely held back in terms of technology. The capital of Cuba, Havana, is famous for its vintage cars; it shows that there is a lack of modern resources in Cuba.
In recent years, access to Wi-Fi has been slowly growing as signs of limited modernization in Cuba. In a few cybercafés, you can even access the internet. With mobile phone access, it will allow access to mobile banking and possibly blockchain-based wallets.
The quality and access by the masses is still a major issue in Cuba. However, this will also be a chance for many to learn about the internet for the first time and the blockchain. It is likely that blockchain acceptance will happen soon in Cuba.
Internet In Cuba
The President of ETECSA the state-run telecommunications monopoly announced the news. The access will still be out of reach for many people who rely on remittances and side gigs. The Internet has been offered to the masses since 2017 via home Wi-Fi connection.
Cuban has fallen behind in web access due to trade embargos by the US, fear about information flow, and being too expensive for common Cubans. In 2013, the government took the first measures to ensure there was internet access at hotels. In 2014, the nation allowed phone users to access the Nauta email service run by the state. At the time, the cost was 1CUC per MB but it has since fallen to 1CUC per 50 MB to access Nauta.
Since 2015, there have been various public hotspots and cybercafés. Most Cubans use the internet to video chat with family members who have moved to the US or other nations.