Digital Assets: Cubans Take to Cryptos Amidst Food Shortage; Over 2,500 Austrian Merchants to Accept Cryptos

July 6, 2020 | Digital Assets, News
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There appears to be a rising swell of adoption of cryptos across the globe.

Cuba is grappling with a national food crisis stemming from Venezuela’s decision to cut off its aid to the country. Problems have been compounded by the nonavailability, due to the virus, of cash couriers and “mules” that are a critical part of the financial and supply chain in the island nation. The socialist regime at the helm of Cuba’s affairs has instructed the people to grow food on every available patch of land. Hapless citizens are increasingly using cryptocurrencies in place of cash and as a hedge against inflation. (Bitcoin.com)

Cuban mules – well-oiled cogs for cash and supplies

About 50,000 Cubans work as “mules” or couriers that transfer cash and certain products from all across the world to Cuban citizens and sometimes vice versa. The COVID 19 pandemic has laid low this workforce of mules and as a result the money transfer cycle, as well as the goods supply chain, that they worked, has come to a standstill.

The Cuban economy was already suffering from US sanctions.

In these circumstances, Cubans are resorting to transacting in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin (BTC) as a means to receive inward remittances and thereby conduct their household shopping.

Meanwhile, entrepreneur Mario Mazzola launched on April 23,  Cuba’s first peer-to-peer exchange qbita.org.

At the time of the launch, Mazzola said in an interview that more people would use bitcoin for the true purpose of having the freedom and control to move money.

In further evidence of the growing reach of cryptocurrencies into the lives of the common man, Austrian merchants can now accept cryptocurrency payments.

Salamantex enables bitcoin

Austrian payment processor Salamantex announced last week that it had enabled over 2,500 Austrian merchants for transacting three kinds of cryptocurrencies. These are ethereum (ETH), dash (DASH), and bitcoin (BTC).

The move addresses the growing demand for contactless payment services in view of the coronavirus pandemic – despite Austrians’ traditional love for cash.

“Although Austria is traditionally a country with a high affinity for cash, the last few months have led to a mind shift after people were called upon by the government and retailers to primarily switch to cashless payment transactions as far as possible,” the Salamantex announcement said.

Related Story:  Crypto Adoption Growing Apace – CoinPayments Ties Up with Shopify

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