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02 December 2020

As Western Union Ends US-Cuba Transfers, Cubans Eye Bitcoin Options - Decrypt

As Western Union Ends US-Cuba Transfers, Cubans Eye Bitcoin Options - Decrypt

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After this weekend, Americans will no longer be able to transfer money to Cuba via Western Union.

Western Union doesn’t need to serve Cuba in order to stay successful.

“For more than 20 years, Western Union has been moving money to Cuba on behalf of our customers to family and loved ones to pay for food, rent, and other expenses including micro-businesses,” it said in a statement.

While it didn’t provide specifics on how substantial the Cuban market is for Western Union, it’s likely the company doesn’t need the regulatory hassle that comes with serving the communist-run island—just as companies have avoided doing business in Venezuela, due to sanctions against specific figures and organizations linked to Nicolás Maduro’s government.

Alejandro Machado, co-founder of the Open Money Initiative, toldDecrypt, “If the bloodline of a business isn't to provide services to Venezuelans, lawyers often advise to stay clear of Venezuela to avoid trouble—and firms like Western Union don't necessarily have the risk appetite to serve a country like Cuba.”.

Without competition from the usual money transfer suspects—PayPal, Stripe, and Square don’t send to Cuba—such crypto operations have less competition

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