What is MetaTrader 4? How is it used?

The Forex Market, and other financial markets, have become a popular activity for many investors and traders in Latin America. Citizens have much more options for information and new technologies that offer instant updates. They can also access reliable sources of information and develop specialized programs and apps to help them get a return.

The public is becoming more educated and searching for the best MT4 brokers to provide detailed analysis and advice on the situation with the goal of optimizing their movements, and ensuring profits.

MetaTrader4 is a reference platform for forex and CFD trading internationally. It provides clients with periodic reports, comparisons, and observations about the financial markets. The platform is ideal for forex trading, because it combines innovative and specialized trading technology with analytical techniques to make the best conclusions. The software is powerful enough to allow you to adjust different strategies and cover a wide variety of complexity. Clients have access to the information and details they require to make their investments. Clients have instant access to various informative graphics on the mobile version of the platform. They can also execute orders to the market, stop, or trailing-stop orders from the platform.

The MetaTrader 4 platform was created by MetaQuotes. It features analytical functions. It allows you to view prices online using interactive maps, and it also displays prices in nine time periods. This makes it easy to analyze prices. This allows you to quickly react to price changes. This tool has 23 technical indicators and 30 analytical objects that can perform this task. It also provides access to thousands more indicators. It is designed to give investors the tools they need to make their investments.

Automated task management

The main problem for active traders on stock market stocks is the inability to quickly respond to any changes. MetaTrader4 was created to address this problem and has developed a task-automation system. After the client has set up the protocols, the terminal will automatically start trading according to the criteria. This feature allows you to access a wide range of providers, strategies, and trading conditions.


This program is designed to help the client make decisions and allow him to move. Either by using the information provided through the indicators or directly through the development robots that respond to market conditions and act as advisors. This person can be granted the right to control all routines via an algorithmic or automatic trading program. You have access to a large number of services that can be paid or free. Additionally, you have the option to activate notifications and alerts on your mobile phone.

In Cuba, private companies finally allowed to hatch

With the same patience as when she makes furniture in plant fibers, Mirna Rivera is studying the steps to follow to transform her family business, launched 25 years ago, into a private company, a model finally authorized in Cuba since Monday.

“We do not have enough information to get started,” regrets Mirna, 49, who still hesitates.

After years of waiting that made some people lose hope, the government approved the existence of small and medium-sized enterprises, which can be public or private, and relaunched non-agricultural cooperatives, which had been on hiatus for four years.

Monday, the day the law came into force, 75 cases were filed. “A very good start”, welcomed the Minister of the Economy, Alejandro Gil.

Armed with a knife, Mirna’s nephew, Angel La Rosa, 38, removes the bark from a branch of guaniquiqui, a tree whose fiber will serve as a base for the armchairs, tables, baskets and box springs that his family makes.

Elsa, her sister, makes a basket. “We do that as a family, we are more or less 20-25 people to work and each one does it individually, on order,” Mirna told AFP.

Indeed, for lack of private companies in Cuba, each one operates with a self-employed license, almost the only way to earn a living outside the state.

The members of this family business live in four adjoining houses, on an avenue in Havana where passers-by admire their furniture, inspired by a Vietnamese technique.

In Cuba, private companies disappeared in 1968, when Fidel Castro began to apply the Soviet state model and nationalized them as part of his “revolutionary offensive”.

But he himself had to reverse the disappearance of the communist bloc and, from 1990, admit private work, foreign investment and openness to international tourism.

Today, if the Cuban economy remains 85% state-owned, there are more than 600,000 private workers, mainly in services (restaurants, taxis, repairs …): they are the ones who should give the impetus to new businesses. private.

But the Covid-19 pandemic plunged Cuba into its worst economic crisis since 1993, with “a devastating impact on the private sector”, more than 250,000 private workers having suspended their activity in the absence of tourists, tells AFP Oniel Diaz, director of the consulting firm Auge.

Mirna can testify: “The pandemic has really affected us. The problem is that now we lack raw materials”, the trucks transporting it not being able to move from one province to another.

Mirna Rivera, at the head of a family business finally authorized in Cuba, sells plant fiber furniture in Havana.

The youngest employees therefore go, alone, to the countryside “to see if they can bring back a little, a bag or two, and we survive like that”.

According to Oniel Diaz, however, these difficulties have contributed to “reconfigure the private sector”, which has reoriented itself towards production and technologies, activities hitherto “hidden under various licenses, totally unsuitable”, but which now have a new opportunity: to transform into businesses.

  • “No turning back” –

This is the case of Abel Bajuelos, 42, a percussionist who reinvented himself in a small room of four square meters at the back of his house. Now “I sell digital manufacturing services”, he explains, in other words “3D prints”.

Abel Bajuelos sells digital 3D printing services in Havana. He claims to be able to manufacture “everything that can fit in the machine”, the 3D printer, such as spare parts but also faithful reproductions of damaged human bones, to allow doctors to study various solutions before the operation.

Self-employed, Abel has already filed his request to create a company of six people, called “Addimensional”.

The authorities promise to respond within 25 days, but many candidates are skeptical, given the usual sluggishness of the Cuban bureaucracy. The lack of credit mechanisms for these projects is also worrying.

“What is important is that there will be no turning back, so what we have to do now is work,” says Abel. A few weeks ago, President Miguel Diaz-Canel came to visit him to encourage him.

Technologies are precisely one of the priority sectors set by the government for these companies, along with food production, the export of goods and services, local development projects and recycling.

Latin America “will be the global ‘hub’ of bitcoin”: Paraguay emulates El Salvador

The country is preparing to debate a legislative initiative to convert it into legal tender.

El Salvador’s decision to accept bitcoin as legal tender has generated a wave of interest in other Latin American countries that see cryptocurrencies as an opportunity to boost their economies and circumvent some of their inefficiencies. Panama, Mexico and especially Paraguay have taken steps towards a generalized adoption of the most operated of cryptocurrencies, with important legislation to provide a new legal framework, which makes analysts think that Latin America could become a world center of reference in cryptocurrencies .

El Salvador overtakes central banks and lights up a financial hub with bitcoin

The South American country is the one that is closest to following in the footsteps of the Nayib Bukele government, as Paraguayan Congressman Carlitos Rejala and Senator Fernando Silva Facetti plan to present a bitcoin bill in Congress on Wednesday, July 14, underlining the urgency of legislators to formulate a coherent digital asset strategy for their country. “I’m here to unite Paraguay,” Rejala tweeted last Friday, adding that he and his fellow legislator are planning a “mega surprise for Paraguay and the world.”

Without elaborating on what the new legislation will entail,

It is believed that, like El Salvador did in June, it will seek to have the creation of Satoshi Nakamoto considered legal tender in the country, which will imply the same advantages that the Central American nation theoretically enjoys. But, in addition, it is speculated that the future regulations will also introduce measures to turn the country into a world center for cryptocurrency investors, businesses based on these digital assets and, most likely, miners, given the low energy prices in Paraguay.

The technology entrepreneurs of the nation go to one when defending the suitability for the nation chaired by Mario Abdo Benítez to become a reference nucleus in blockchain and strategic technology in South America. This was defended last week, during the Talent Land Jalisco 2021 conference, by a group of businessmen from this industry, who closed ranks with the fact that the country has “all the conditions”. As they explained, the largest cryptocurrency in the world could be useful for sending and receiving remittances and for electronic commerce, still underdeveloped in the country, according to their vision.

In addition, the abundant and cheap energy production in this nation works as a magnet for cryptocurrency mining companies – dedicated to the process of obtaining these assets through computational power that consumes large amounts of electricity. Asian companies expelled from their countries by the strict regulations that hang over miners, especially China where these businesses have been banned, are landing in Paraguay where energy consumption is cheap thanks to the number of hydroelectric plants it has as it is the first country in the world in terms of energy availability per capita, as explained by the businessmen meeting in Jalisco last week.

For all the above, Latin American countries have all the numbers of being a global benchmark in ‘cryptos’ due to different factors. In the first place, according to Enrique Palacios Rojo, COO of Onyze, monetarily, “its financial systems are not as powerful as in Europe and the United States, and the banking system of its population is very low, which generates a great opportunity for the world of cryptocurrencies ”; secondly, “being one of the first countries in the world to draw up strict regulations for them allows them to position themselves as benchmarks.”

Finally, adds the expert, “thanks to the energy capacities in many of these countries of the South American and Central American continent, they serve as a claim for a sector such as mining that has been expelled from China due to the prohibitions of the great Asian giant” .

He invested the rent in the stock market and lost it. Now educate Hispanics to win on Wall Street

Yurek Vázquez made his own version of that phrase so common in cowboy and gangster movies: “The bag or the life.” His first experience on the stock market and binary options trading was devastating. He invested the $ 2,000 he had to pay the rent and lost it in a second.

“I knew how to push the button, but I didn’t know what was happening in front of me,” says this Cuban immigrant who has become an expert in the stock market, binary options trading and in business survival.

“I had to call the broker to close the transaction for me. “The number is the amount you won,” he told her. And what I saw was that he had lost everything, ”Vázquez recalls in an interview with the Nuevo Herald.

Vázquez believes that the stock market enjoys a bad reputation precisely because of people who invest without being informed, but investing is still the fastest way to generate wealth. That is why one of his objectives today is to equip Hispanics with the tools offered by the stock market so that their inclusion in the market economy is more effective.

“The stock market is not just for investors. When you normally talk about Wall Street, people think they are being invited to invest, but it is not just that. In the stock market are the answers we need for our small or medium business to succeed or get ahead, in the midst of a crisis such as COVID-19, ”he explains.

Vázquez came to the United States at the age of 14 and dropped out of high school to help his mother. His first job was at an auto repair shop in Hialeah where he arrived at 7 in the morning and didn’t leave until 9 at night. But he was very organized and a good entrepreneur, and he was climbing in Miami. He first founded a business to sell beepers, later an import and export company, and along the way of his career he had to save some other bankrupt company.

So the first misstep of the bag was not going to stop him. What conquered him about this was the potential in the transactions he made from his room in his house, Vázquez said, from his apartment in one of the luxury towers of downtown Miami.

It was precisely the understanding that education is essential to win in the stock market, and that the participation of Hispanics in it is very limited, which led him to found the Wall Street Business Academy, an online academy to teach how to invest in the stock market. stock market and at the same time use it to anticipate trends in the economy.


As for the stock market, only 10 percent of the population in the United States controls 84 percent of wealth, according to Federal Reserve figures.

In the case of Hispanics in the United States, who represent the eighth largest economy in the world, only 30 percent participate in the stock market. This represents a great loss, considering also that in recent times many people have decided to invest the $ 1,200 of the stimulus check in the stock market.

Thus, small investors are believed to have driven the rally in the price of US stocks.

“When you take into account that a Hispanic launches a business and does not have access to the stock market, from the outset they are at a competitive disadvantage with those who are using it,” said Vázquez, indicating that Hispanics lack that free tool offered by the market from both an investment and information perspective.

The expert gives as an example that the behavior of the markets since 2006 began to predict that a contraction was coming. Then the crisis of 2008 occurred, and the businessmen who dominated that information were able to prepare and make more educated decisions to face it.


Vázquez is of the theory that “there is no bad economy because you win when the market falls and when it rises”, that is why this moment is as good as any to start investing.

“In the first quarter of 2020, as the Dow Jones made headlines by plummeting in the face of the pandemic, Goldman Sachs reversed lower and earned $ 8.74 trillion, Citi made $ 1.2 trillion and Bill Ackman $ 2 trillion. With or without chaos, you can win, ”he exemplified.

Vázquez does not believe that there is a disconnect between the behavior of the stock market, which has recovered from almost all the losses suffered during the pandemic, and the economic crisis and unemployment.

In times of crisis, investors often buy government bonds to secure their investment and get some return, he explained. This time the Federal Reserve has had a different attitude and has bought shares of private companies.

“The Federal Reserve, by bailing out these companies, bails out employees, saves jobs, and this has an effect on the economy. So the growth of the stock market has been the reaction to the wise move of the Federal Reserve ”, he emphasized.


Vázquez recommends diversifying capital, starting small, and generally investing in companies when they are in their early stages, so that the investment is smaller and when growth occurs, thus obtaining a greater return:

▪ the medical marijuana industry, which is still very young and has not yet been exploited.

▪ technology, renewable and alternative energy companies.

▪ companies related to water, land and food.

“90 percent of my investments are buying and selling currencies from other countries and cryptocurrencies, but there is 10 percent that I reserve for these industries in the long term,” he said.

He also pointed out that although many now speak of investing in pharmaceutical companies because of the prominence they have taken, in reality they have established investors.

Vázquez has mixed feelings about investing in real estate, because although the state of the markets and the incentive of low interest rates favor this industry, there are many aspects that could cause a decline.

He points out that never in the history of the world economy has the Gross Domestic Product of countries stopped, and the consequences of this situation are not yet calculated because governments have been proactive and injected capital.

What will happen when the millions who are unemployed cannot pay the mortgage ?, he warns.

Plus, there are 70 million aging baby boomers who own 30 million properties, he says. If your heirs decide to sell them, then there will be a surplus in the market that will add to possible foreclosures. The homes could lose value and whoever buys them to invest would incur a debt that must later be paid, causing loss.

“We must be judicious in what we are seeing in the market. If you are going to live in the house, it is a good idea to buy, but if you buy it as an investment, you must do it in the long term or wait to obtain a better price ”, he concluded.

Cryptocurrencies in Cuba: the digital gold rush

As in the days of the American Old West, a new gold rush passes from person to person in the digital world: the cryptocurrency market.

Although there are no official figures that have counted the followers of this trend, some experts venture to estimate hundreds of thousands of users of “crypto” money in Cuba, especially in the variant of Bitcoin.

Meanwhile, and despite the fact that the use of cryptocurrencies in Cuba is closely associated with investment in the controversial company Trust Investing – to which we will dedicate another installment of this program – they are also increasingly used as a means of payment for services online, remittances or purchases of products online, which Cubans could not access otherwise.

About what cryptocurrencies are and what potentialities they have in Cuba, we spoke with Juan Alejandro Triana, Professor at the Center for Cuban Economic Studies at the University of Havana.

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies, as the word says, are a currency, money as such, a commodity. They can be considered this way insofar as they are produced by the human being; that is to say, they are the product of human labor, of abstract labor.

It is definitely about money, since they fulfill the three basic functions of this resource: they serve as a means of payment in the world in transactions between people. They also serve as a means of value, because they express the value of certain goods through their price. And in addition to this they also serve as a means of hoarding. There are several people – companies even – who denominate their values ​​in cryptocurrency.

In this case I am talking specifically about the one that is most used internationally, which is Bitcoin, although it is not the only one, there are many cryptocurrencies, some more successful than others. There is Freecoin, Litecoin, Namecoin … that is, there are several types of cryptocurrencies, hundreds of them. However, Bitcoin, created in 2009, 2010, has been the most widely used and most famous cryptocurrency. Even recently, important companies such as Tesla, related to Elon Musk, have invested significant sums of money in Bitcoin and is already allowing its users, and the general public, to pay with it for their products. It is, as I said, a commodity and also a commodity-money.

But how is it created, where does the cryptocurrency come from?

Access to cryptocurrency and the creation of cryptocurrencies, for example, in the case of Bitcoin, is an extremely complex process, not in Cuba, but in the world. Creating Bitcoins, or the Bitcoin mining process, as it is commonly known, is a very complex process that requires technical skills, a fairly high level of education in encryption and the art of cryptography; therefore, creating the cryptocurrency is not a simple process.

In Cuba, people who have funds denominated in hard currencies, legal tender, in different countries, access the purchase of Bitcoin to carry out different transactions. But they can do it with the money in the bank. If the person, inside or outside of Cuba, has an account in an internationally recognized bank, and in so-called hard currencies, he can use the funds he has in those accounts to buy the cryptocurrencies he wants. In the case of Cuba, with MLC cards denominated in dollars or other freely convertible currencies, it must be remembered that these are accounts domiciled in Cuban banks. These financial institutions suffer the stigma of US economic sanctions and are neither recognized nor frowned upon in many financial systems in various countries.

Personally, I do not know Cubans who have bought cryptocurrencies using the accounts they have in national banks. However, I am aware of the trade that exists within the Island for access to cryptocurrencies with Freely Convertible Currency (MLC) cards between individuals.

Is the use of cryptocurrencies legal?

That is one of the questions and also one of the most important barriers that people face when deciding whether or not to use Bitcoin. What’s going on? As I was saying, we can affirm that Bitcoin is money because it fulfills the three fundamental functions of money that I mentioned earlier. As it is not centralized by Central Banks of the countries, Bitcoin lacks legal course and representation in these countries. No country in the world today, to my knowledge, uses Bitcoin for its actual business transactions. What’s going on? That among individuals the use of Bitcoin is allowed.

This resource has important advantages since it reduces transaction costs and times and eliminates the need for financial intermediaries. It is a business relationship, which involves a transaction between two people.

How to explain to people what it is or bring them closer to Bitcoin? Simply guiding them on how it is referenced to the value of this resource in US dollars. That is, today the price on the stock market for one Bitcoin is very high, around 50-55 thousand dollars for 1 Bitcoin in the stock market. Normally people do not own Bitcoins but, when you ask can I pay you in Bitcoin? or how much does it cost me in Bitcoin? what they answer is: 50, 60, 100, 200 dollars in Bitcoin.

For this there are different mechanisms. There are well established and secure payment gateways. There are also special purses or wallets where you can store this type of cryptocurrency to use them when necessary. As several countries have decided to regulate aspects related to Bitcoin, as well as various people or companies use it, it is gaining a little more, let’s say, in seriousness, in recognition.

There is also a kind of rejection by people who do not have extensive knowledge on the subject, because it is a currency that lends itself to so-called “financial scams” ​​and is very volatile. Furthermore, it is an extremely young coin. All this also generates a certain insecurity among people.

What would be the disadvantages of this new form of money?

The main disadvantages that I could see in the use of cryptocurrency is that it needs connectivity. You must necessarily be connected to the internet to be able to use it. As I said before, the high volatility of their price on the stock market also makes people reject them.

Bitcoin is very sensitive to speculation. There are some aspects that consider the value or the growth of the value of Bitcoin from, mainly, speculative processes. This definitely makes people suspicious when it comes to using it. And there is also the fact that the currency does not exist physically; There is no recognized authority that can regulate the movement of this cryptocurrency and this implies a set of disadvantages for its use.

Despite having been in use for 11 years, only in the last five or six years has there been a greater speed in the evolution and use of Bitcoin. It will be necessary to see what is the development of the same in the medium term. Without being a fanatic of cryptocurrencies, I do believe that they are a form of money, a commodity-money that is going to be used more and more frequently. When governments decide to regulate its use more widely, it will be given greater credibility with the general public.

How is the use of cryptocurrencies in Cuba?

Definitely the case of Cuba is extremely particular. Cryptocurrencies were not only used in so-called developed countries, although there is a fairly widespread use in these types of countries. Even the so-called underdeveloped countries have seen them as a mechanism to access certain funds for different purposes, in a more secure and faster way.

In the particular case of Cuba, the fact that we are a country blocked by the United States hinders all kinds of trade between Cuba and the rest of the world. To date, the Cuban government has not yet regulated anything regarding the use of cryptocurrencies.

Others like Venezuela have regulated them and even promoted their use. Countries such as Russia and the United States, or many of the European Union, have begun to regulate not only the use of cryptocurrencies, but also some aspects related to them, such as the generation of profits, wealth and the payment of taxes on that wealth, which comes from using cryptocurrency trading.

In Cuba that does not yet exist. However, the cryptocurrency has already arrived and it is not something recent. There are no official figures in this regard, but some experts establish that there are more than 50 thousand cryptocurrency users in the country, others maintain that there would be more than 80 and up to 100 thousand cryptocurrency users in Cuba. In reality, there are no official records and I personally do not know an exact way to capture that data. But I do believe that there is a fairly widespread use, especially in city centers. Even if the use of cryptocurrency is not regulated in the country – it is not regulated in the United States, for example – individuals do use them for their transactions and for certain commercial relationships. It is not only used for the exchange of goods as such, that is, for the sale of some type of product and its payment in Bitcoin, but it is also used to send remittances from abroad to Cuba and to send money from Cuba to abroad.

This is a double-edged sword, because although it is not regulated or transparent by any institution, it means an advantage over the more than 200 regulations or sanctions imposed by the Donald Trump administration on Cuba in the last 4 years, which include restrictions on shipping. of remittances to Cuba. In this context, many Cubans inside and outside of Cuba have agreed to use this tool to receive money, even to buy products within Cuba.

There are people abroad who have access to cryptocurrency and buy products for their relatives within Cuba by paying with it. In this way, it could be considered as an advantage. However, the Cuban financial market as such is not yet sufficiently developed to accommodate them.

Cubans, who in general have a very good level of education, have found in the use of cryptocurrencies a certain way to avoid the effects of sanctions and seek alternatives for trade, to solve daily situations in the country.

What could the Cuban government do to boost the crypto economy and benefit from its use?

In the first place, the development of a market and financial institutions, much faster, deeper and more modern than those that exist today, must be promoted. Unfortunately, that does not depend on the will of the Cuban State, although much can be done about it.

In addition, international banks and institutions should be allowed access in a more expeditious manner, including some type of private banking or non-banking financial institution, more generally, within the country. But access to the phenomenon of Bitcoin and investment funds based on cryptocurrencies does not depend only on the country, but on how Cuba is seen in the international financial markets.

Definitely there we have the very negative impact of the US sanctions, which affect the image of Cuba, not only because of its own problems that the country has presented from a financial point of view, but also because of the unfair treatment that has been given to it as a result of these. sanctions, and for the deprivation of access to free trade in the international financial market.

We could also take advantage of the cryptocurrency phenomenon to become a revolutionary and entrepreneurial country, and begin to regulate and legislate regarding the use of Bitcoin, not only so as not to be left behind in terms of what the Latin American region and the Caribbean, but also as a way of responding to the development and acceptance that Bitcoin has had in Cuba in the last five years.

I believe that we should be more proactive from the legislative point of view, as other countries such as Japan, Russia, or regional bodies such as the European Union have done. In this way, we would be more prepared from the legal point of view for when it is decided – if it is decided – the use of Bitcoin to carry out official transactions or for a more generalized use within the population. All this depends on the proactivity of the Cuban State and its priorities in the short and medium term development plans.

However, we must be optimistic, because, in short, the phenomenon of cryptocurrency is going to be part of the future without a doubt, not only of the financial markets and the international economy, but also of Cuba, to a certain extent.

Startup in Cuba avoids the US blockade with bitcoins.

Money transfers from Cuban exiles are essential for many on the Caribbean island. But now the United States has stopped the flow of money. So new ideas are needed.

At the end of November, the US payment service provider Western Union processed, for the moment, the last money transfers between the United States and Cuba. Due to the new sanctions of the Trump administration against Cuba, the more than 400 branches of the company on the island had to close. A hard blow for Cubans residing in the United States who send remittances to their land of origin.

Until November, most of these transfers were handled through Western Union. So Cubans have to find new ways to support the sending of these vital foreign money transfers, one of the main sources of income for many families on the island.

The Cuban startup BitRemesas offers an alternative. Organize money transfers in the form of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Ether, Doge, and others. “There is a growing community of supporters of crypto in Cuba,” says Erich García, a programmer and software developer from Havana.

This 34-year-old, who also manages his own YouTube channel with tips and solutions for using the Internet, launched the BitRemesas platform at the end of September.

Typically, to transfer money, customers go to Western Union or a bank, which charges them a commission and delivers the money to its destination. “The process is similar in our system, except that there is no bank involved,” explains García. “The money is sent to us digitally in the form of cryptocurrency and we take care of physically paying it to the client in Cuba.”

A win-win situation

The BitRemesas mechanism is very simple. García gives a practical example: “Someone from the US sends a relative through BitRemesas 100 dollars in bitcoins. We receive this 100 dollars in bitcoins and we organize an auction, let’s call it ‘negative’. There are many Cubans who want to buy cryptocurrencies . The smallest possible amount of bitcoins is auctioned. There are cases in which someone buys bitcoins for the equivalent of 88 or 92 or 93 US dollars. The difference in Bitcoin is, in this case, the profit of BitRemesas. “

The one who is willing to keep the least amount of bitcoins for the amount of Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) to which the remittance is equivalent wins. When the winner of the auction has transferred the total amount of the transfer, in this case 100 (CUC), to the recipient of the remittance, BitRemesas transfers the auctioned amount, in this case 88 or 92 or 93 dollars in bitcoins.

To understand all this, it is necessary to know that the CUC has depreciated strongly against the US dollar on the island, since the partial dollarization of Cuban retail trade. Although the official exchange rate remains 1: 1, on the black market they pay 1.50 CUC and more for one US dollar.

It is not possible to buy cryptocurrencies with CUC anywhere else. So people are satisfied with a smaller share. And, since 100 CUC is no longer 100 US dollars, but only around 66.67 dollars on the black market, they still do a good deal with the 88, 92 or 93 dollars in Bitcoin auctioned for 100 CUC.

BitRemesas currently has around 300 to 400 users. The trend is on the rise, says Garcia. In Cuba, there are an estimated 10,000 people in total who use cryptocurrencies. There are quite a few transfers, but often in small amounts of $ 10, 15, or 20, Garcia says. Since there are no fees, unlike Western Union or banks, people can also send small amounts: “Sometimes it’s $ 100, but the sums are rather small.”

Garcia’s platform collects a small margin on the respective cryptocurrency. And the person who buys the corresponding amount of cryptocurrencies receives a freely convertible alternative currency in exchange for the local CUC, internationally unusable. For García, “a win-win situation”.

Completely deregulated platform

“Cryptocurrencies give us certain freedoms that we normally do not have, since the use of financial instruments such as Visa, Mastercard, Paypal or other payment mechanisms is difficult for Cubans.” For García, this is the great advantage of cryptocurrencies in general and BitRemesas in particular. “It is a completely deregulated platform. There is no one who can block or sanction it, since cryptocurrency cannot be regulated and BitRemesas is based on cryptocurrencies.”

Not even the US Department of Justice has any legal recourse. The decades-long US blockade separates Cubans from financial markets and conventional international payment systems. Residents of the island do not receive credit or debit cards for international use. The United States sanctions against the Cuban financial institution Fincimex, which led to the closure of Western Union branches on the island, are just the latest in a long list of Washington measures against the Cuban financial sector.

“More and more Cubans use cryptocurrencies to buy or pay for services on the Internet,” says García. And he also has other ideas, such as paying the electricity bill, recharging the cell phone credit or similar, with the help of cryptocurrencies. “It is an alternative currency to which we have access in Cuba and which offers us new opportunities.”

Cryptocurrencies gain presence as remittances in Cuba

Eyonys González activated the mobile data of her cell phone, received a notification that indicated the arrival of an amount in cryptocurrencies and with a few clicks she transferred 300 Cuban pesos to the account of a compatriot, the equivalent of about 12 dollars.

Without leaving her house in Havana or touching a single bill, González acts as an intermediary who exchanges digital money for Cuban dollars or pesos, both of which are locally circulated. That is, if a family member or friend opens an electronic wallet to send cryptocurrencies, he receives them and for a commission he delivers currency that an island resident can use to buy products or pay for services.

This 33-year-old software developer is part of a small but growing community – especially young people – who use these virtual currencies to convert them into remittances in a context aggravated by the United States sanctions on the Caribbean nation and whose effect is worsened with the new coronavirus. On the other hand, although they are not regulated by any government or bank and some experts consider it a risk, some on the island acquire cryptocurrencies to protect their savings from the devaluation of the Cuban peso.

Eyonys González poses for a photo with her bitcoin wallet, at her home in Havana, Cuba, on Monday, March 29, 2021. Without leaving their homes or touching a bill, young Cuban professionals and developers are becoming more and more involved in the world of cryptocurrencies. (Ramon Espinosa / AP)
“I receive those remittances, I make the payment and use those cryptocurrencies,” explained González, a member of the online platform BitRemesas through which the operation was carried out, smiling.

Emerged in 2009, cryptocurrencies are virtual money – it does not exist in physical form – that are not backed by gold as in the past or in the wealth of a country, as in the case of national currencies that we know today.

There are no figures on the amount that is being moved in Cuba, but according to experts consulted by AP, its use has increased since the administration of former President Donald Trump began a harsher persecution of banks and investors who dared to work with the island and At the end of 2020, it suspended Western Union’s authorization to work with Cuba. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of flights in which the “mules” – people who are dedicated to trafficking – brought physical tickets.

The BitRemesas platform started on October 1, 2020 and already has more than 5,000 members, Erich García, a 33-year-old programmer who developed this mechanism together with a team of colleagues, explained to the AP. “The impact that the use of cryptocurrencies has had in Cuba from two years to now has been impressive. It has escalated in its use, in its interpretation, in what it is ”, explained García, an enthusiast of the possibilities offered by this digital money.

The platform was developed after many people began to trade cryptocurrencies in WhatsApp or Telegram groups and a community of interested parties became visible on the island, which has a large number of programmers, cybernetics and engineers among its professionals.

The appeal is that money can be sent to family or friends “from anywhere in the world,” without “any bank mediating,” Garcia said. “It is a huge ‘peer to peer’ (person to person) network.”

It works like this: a person abroad opens an electronic wallet – there are many pages for this on the internet – and buys cryptocurrencies – usually through international cards such as Visa and Mastercard – which they then send through BitRemesas along with the name and details of your beneficiary in Cuba.

Immediately, the platform offers this exchange to some of its members associated with the page on the island – such as González – and he converts the cryptocurrencies into local currency – dollars if it is a bank transfer or Cuban pesos if the money is delivered in physical – to be paid to whom it may concern.

There are no limits on the amounts and among the most popular cryptocurrencies on the island are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and USDT, which González used for his operation.

The value of the change is determined by the supply and demand in the community. To date, for every 100 dollars in cryptocurrencies that someone from abroad sends to Cuba, the final recipient receives about 86 if the intermediary carries out the transaction through a bank. On the island, Cubans cannot withdraw dollars from their bank accounts, but they can buy dollars in that currency in state stores with a magnetic card provided for this purpose.

On the other hand, if the receiver on the island requires the money in cash, the intermediary can provide it by hand or through a money order and the exchange for $ 100 in cryptocurrencies would be equivalent to about 3,500 Cuban pesos. To do so, according to the state quote, it would be about 2,400 Cuban pesos and according to the black market, 4,700 pesos. Therefore, the broker and the platform get a difference that becomes their commission.

Cuba is not alone on the continent: reports to the AP in Argentina, Chile and Central America indicated that the use of cryptocurrencies is increasingly popular, even among indigenous communities in El Salvador with strong immigration and potential generators of remittances from the United States .

The head of Economy, Alejandro Gil, said in 2019 that Cuba was studying the application of cryptocurrencies “in national and international commercial relations”, given the offensive of sanctions implemented by Trump seeking to suffocate the island’s economy and pressing a change in its model. political.

So far there have been no government announcements about it and its use is controversial.

“Given the political vision behind crypto assets (cryptocurrencies) that seek the creation of private money and the denationalization of the currency, it is evident that they constitute a challenge for the Cuban government that has a statist vision, but also for the North American government that it has a sanctions stance towards Cuba, ”economist and expert on Cuban issues Arturo Lopez Levy, a professor at Holy Names University in California, told the AP.

López-Levy considered that for now there are no “private actors” on the island with the strength to generate a great business with this digital money, “but that does not mean that there are significant profit margins to be obtained in a Cuban context,” he considered Lopez-Levy.

From a completely skeptical position, Mauricio de Miranda Parrondo, economist and academic from the Javeriana University, Cali in Colombia, considered that Cuba should focus on the production of goods and services that it lacks instead of trying to solve economic problems with digital currencies. .

In general, young digital money operators on the island are aware of the dangers that the phenomenon faces worldwide – from the scams that also began to circulate on the island using cryptocurrencies, to the regulatory rumors that come from the States themselves. United – but they warn of the relief it brought to many families and the increase in its use.