Western Union Ban Could Drive Cubans to Bitcoin As Deadline Looms
Cubans are being brought even closer to Bitcoin (BTC) and Altcoins after the nation’s longstanding spit with the United States suffered another conventional remittance victim.
Per Earlier reports in November the Cuban government closed all 400 Western Union Offices in the country after Washington was blacklisted Fincimex, a military-run company that processes payments from overseas Cubans.
The Guardian said the move would “eliminate most remittances and exacerbate the country’s deep economic crisis”.
And Reuters reported Western Union stated, “Today we announced to our customers that they have limited time to send money to loved ones from the US in Cuba.”
Cubans based abroad now have until November 22nd to send money home. The offices will be closed on November 23rd.
The US Treasury Department last week banned all US companies from negotiating in any way with Fincimex.
The move could force Cubans to look for crypto-based alternatives. Even before Fincimex and Western Union closed, the term “buy bitcoin” was widespread in Spanish-speaking areas on Google Trends.
In addition, this term is the most popular in Cuba:
Cubans are increasingly desperate to resolve their remittance-related problems as much of the population depends on obtaining finances from relatives working abroad.
As previously reported, this phenomenon has led to the rise of a platform by the name BitRemesas in Cuba. This solution involves middlemen who charge BTC commission fees of up to 25% to convert overseas Bitcoin transfers into fiat and deliver to their intended recipients – often by bike, 14 km in incredibly hot conditions, to deliver cash by hand.
According to The Havana Consulting Group and Tech DataOver the past 10 years, the Cuban population has received $ 29.95 billion in cash transfers. 90% of that money came from the US. In 2018, the amount of money sent to Cuba was estimated at $ 3.69 billion, up 3.6% from 2017, according to the consulting firm.
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