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Pre-Paid Phones, Communist Cuba, and Cryptocurrency

The Cuban people have been suffering for decades due to the embargo imposed by the United States. The U.S. first imposed an embargo on the sales of arms to Cuba on March 14, 1958, during the Fulgencio Batista regime. Again on October 19, 1960 the U.S placed an embargo on exports to Cuba except for food and medicine. On February 7, 1962 the embargo was extended to include almost all exports. As of 2018, the Cuban embargo isĀ  strictly enforced.

Due to the political, financial, and emotional situation, the embargo forced the Cuban people to flee to other countries. Keep in mind Key West is approximately 106 miles from Havana, Cuba making it a bulls eye for the brave ones that decide to jump on a raft or a small vessel, and risk it all for freedom, hoping the right marine conditions will bring them to the United States and then the rest of the world.

To the lucky ones that made it to freedom was left the task to work hard and provide for the family members and friends who were not as fortunate and stayed under the regime. Sending them clothing, medicine, and anything they could smuggle back to the island. Trading anything that came from the U.S was a luxury and extremely profitable according to my brother in law. Cell phones is a huge business on the island, and as he said this a smile grew on his face. He had been sending phones and phone cards to Cuba for over a decade to communicate with his loved ones at a very high price.

The internet is another subject; WIFI is not easily found. Public parks usually offer free WIFI around the island with over 1.5 million users, with some obstacles and challenges like disconnections and low or bad connectivity. There is also a limit on the amount of WIFI allowed to be used monthly by the Cuban regime in the beautiful island of Cuba. This year the Cuban company that brings mobile cell phone and internet to the island is offering for the first time in history cellular data and offers internet on the cell phones that operate on the island.

Prepaid service is used everyday in Cuba by locals and tourist. Paying for the service is not so easy and not so cheap, especially if the prepaid cards or phones had to be sent from other more fortunate countries that don’t suffer the same fate as the Cuban people.

Bitcoin and other alternative cryptocurrencies are accepted today to recharge the cards or phones, making it easy to transfer funds to pay for phone service, internet, and actual smart phones. Bitcoin can be sent to a family member or friend and they can pay for the phone itself or for phone or internet services. There are lots of advantages to using cryptocurrency for this. Theft is one of them, no need to carry a wallet full of fiat money. Convenience is the key, you can charge your prepaid service in under 2 minutes at a low rate without traveling miles to do the transaction. And it can be done in 3 easy steps, first step punch the name of the country, second punch your phone number, third pay with Bitcoin or alt coins .

This is another revolutionary idea brought to us by the crypto space, bringing light to a dark place on a necessity such as communication. We are moving in the right direction and finding ways around boundaries.

 

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