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Cuba’s Central Bank Issues Regulations For Virtual Assets Service Providers

Cuba's Central Bank Issues Regulations For Virtual Assets Service Providers

Cuban central bank issued regulations last Tuesday for virtual asset service providers

The Cuban central bank issued regulations last Tuesday for virtual asset service providers, after giving a nod last year to the personal use of cryptocurrencies, a move some experts said could help the Communist-run Caribbean island skirt stiff US sanctions.

Cryptocurrencies, which allow financial operations to be carried out anonymously in a decentralized manner, have been used in the past to get around capital controls, as well as to make payments and transfers more efficient.

The bank authorization, published Tuesday in the government’s official gazette, requires those wishing to use cryptocurrencies to obtain a license.

The bank said it would consider the legality, socioeconomic interest and project characteristics of any request before granting a license, which would be valid initially for one year.

The roll-out of mobile internet three years ago has opened the way for cryptocurrency transactions in Cuba, and enthusiasts on the island are growing in number as the currencies help overcome obstacles created by U.S. sanctions.

The decades-old U.S. trade embargo cuts Cubans off from conventional international payment systems and financial markets. Cubans cannot obtain credit or debit cards for international use on the island and struggle to do so abroad.

“If the central bank is creating a cryptocurrency-friendly legal framework, it is because they have already decided that it can bring benefits to the country,” said Pavel Vidal, a former Cuban central bank economist who teaches at Colombia’s Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali.

Several of Cuba’s Latin American neighbors have taken an interest in cryptocurrency, including El Salvador, the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender.

Vidal said he doubted Cuba would become another El Salvador, making bitcoin its money of choice or coming up with its own cryptocurrency, but rather the government was thinking of facilitating the entry of remittances and international foreign trade operations.

“This can reduce the cost of these international transactions and generate an alternative to operations in dollars, less sensitive to the sanctions scheme,” he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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Crypto Framework: Global Regulators Going ‘Full Steam’ to Tame Digital Assets

Regulators came late to the fast evolving cross-border world of cryptocurrency assets but they could come up with their first global framework of rules within months, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The Financial Stability Board, which groups regulators, central banks, and finance ministry officials from the G20 economies, is looking at what needs to be done with cryptocurrency assets such as bitcoin and stablecoins.

Cryptocurrency assets are currently treated differently across the world, ranging from bans to no rules at all even though they are traded by international firms. The European Union is approving a comprehensive set of standards for authorising and supervising participants in cryptocurrency asset markets.

Robert Ophele, chair of France’s markets watchdog AMF and a member of the FSB, said regulators were following the “universal basic principle” of same rules to cover the same risks.

“I do expect that for some of them, we do have international regulatory convergence… primarily stablecoins and digital asset service providers,” Ophele told a webinar held by Afore Consulting.

Regulators were behind the curve because cryptocurrency assets were not yet a threat to financial stability, but this was now top of the FSB’s agenda, Ophele said.

“I do think we could achieve, deliver on these issues in the next few quarters… the FSB is going full steam on this issue,” Ophele said.

The FSB has no powers to make binding rules, but its members commit to introducing its regulatory principles into their own national rulebooks.

Regulators are also trying to catch up with other parts of a rapidly digitalising financial market, such as social media and smartphones becoming more heavily used by retail investors to buy and sell shares.

EU securities watchdog ESMA is scrutinising “finfluencers” or social media influencers who give stock tips without safeguards on their credibility, its chair Verena Ross told the webinar.

“This fast moving phenomenon requires active monitoring,” she said.

The EU needed a powerful watchdog for markets like the European Central Bank is for banking, Ophele said.

“The current structure is no longer fit for the purpose with the development of cross-border digital market activities,” Ophele said.


Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.


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