Cuban central bank makes it official: VASP licensing coming in May

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Cuban central bank makes it official: VASP licensing coming in May

The Gazette further determines that this decision will enter into force 20 days after its publication, which is May 16.

In a move that could potentially foster the growth of Cuba’s nascent tech industry, the Banco Central de Cuba (BCC), the country’s central bank, will begin issuing licenses for Bitcoin (BTC) and other virtual asset services providers, or VASPs.

According to the Official Gazette No. 43 published Tuesday, which includes a Central Bank of Cuba resolution, anyone wanting to provide virtual-asset-related services must acquire a license first from the central bank. It reads:

As reported by Cointelegraph in September last year, the BCC issued a ruling that defined cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as a legal payment method. Although the institution had reservations about the dangers of utilizing cryptocurrencies, the central bank was made the only entity permitted to grant licenses to VASPs.

By legalizing virtual assets, Cubans can now enjoy more accessible remittance services and the ability to send and receive funds freely around the world, which could potentially trigger new cultural waves in local tech development amid 60 years of United States sanctions. Under mounting pressure from Washington, global money transfer firms have largely departed the country.

Indeed, the country is following a similar path to El Salvador and the Central African Republic in embracing Bitcoin amid escalating U.S. sanctions and the economic impact of COVID-19. With virtual currencies linked to the prospect of financial sovereignty for many Cubans, interest in Cuba has been growing over the last couple of years.

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