Cuba’s Central Bank to License VASPs Starting May

  • The license will be available for individuals as well as organizations and will be valid for a year, though its validity can be extended for a second year.
  • VASPs that fail to comply with the new licensing regime will face penalties in line with existing banking rules and regulations.
Cuban convertible pesos bank notes

Cuban convertible pesos bank notes. Shutterstock

The Central Bank of Cuba (BCC) is planning to issue licenses for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) starting next month, the Official Gazette said in a post on 26 April.

According to the announcement, VASPs in Cuba will soon need to acquire a license from the country’s central bank in order to provide services in the region. The new license will be available for individuals as well as organizations and will be valid for a year, though its validity can be extended for a second year. The BCC’s resolution reads:

“The Central Bank of Cuba, when considering the license request, evaluates the legality, opportunity and socioeconomic interest of the initiative, the characteristics of the project, the responsibility of the applicants and their experience in the activity.”

The bank’s resolution also noted that the new VASP license regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication, which will be 16 May, and that failure to meet compliance will be faced with penalties in line with existing banking and financial rules and regulations. The BCC resolution, however, did not mention how the Cuban government will levy taxes on virtual asset activities.

The central bank also specified that VASPs will not be able to cease their operations without its prior authorization, and that VASPs are also required to keep accounting records of their operations.

Last year Cuba took a similar path to El Salvador, with the BCC ruling in September that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are a legal payment method in the country. Through the legalization of virtual assets, the country’s citizens can now enjoy more accessible remittance services, allowing them to send and receive funds freely.

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