Cuba now has its own Bitcoin exchange, despite restrictions

What do Bitcoin and Cuba have in common? Resilience.

Despite the blockades, embargoes and financial sanctions that have hit the island nation, the people of Cuba have shown to be adept at overcoming obstacles. And one resident of Cuba, in particular, is doing exactly that for crypto on the island.

Earlier this month, Mario Mazzola, the creator of the ultra-lightweight Bitcoin wallet Qbita, launched the Qbita Exchange, the first decentralized Bitcoin exchange of its kind in Cuba.

While crypto isn’t illegal in Cuba, there is no regulatory framework for it either. This combined with US sanctions, poor Internet service, and other restrictions has meant that the largest and most important crypto exchanges and wallet providers in the world avoid Cuba altogether. So Mazzola has taken it upon himself to develop an all-in-one crypto ecosystem on his own: a Bitcoin wallet, payments platform, and, now, a peer-to-peer exchange.

“I created Qbita Exchange because I have always been convinced that here, in Cuba, Bitcoin is a real necessity,” Mazzola told Decrypt. And in order for Cuba to catch up to other parts of the world, the country “needs tools to buy, sell, use and store Bitcoins easily and safely,” he said. “Qbita solves all these problems,” Mazzola claims.

The Italian-Cuban crypto entrepreneur first launched the Qbita wallet last November. It’s designed to work anywhere in the world, but it is especially meant to meet the needs of data-strapped Cubans. The wallet’s installation only requires roughly 1MB of hard drive space and relatively little bandwidth.

That wallet now supports a built-in peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading platform, allowing its Cuban users to trade BTC from within their wallets in a secure, decentralized manner with full control over their funds.

Qbita evolves into a P2P trading platform

Mazzola said that while other P2P exchanges such as Paxful and LocalBitcoins have similar services, neither is…

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