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

The money transfer service is a big player in Cuba’s remittance economy, but peer-to-peer Bitcoin solutions could be ready to take it from here.

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In brief

  • Western Union is ending money transfers from the US to Cuba.
  • It said it was doing so due to US sanctions.
  • With traditional remittance venues cut off, Cubans could turn to Bitcoin.

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

The money transfer service, which dominates the remittance industry with a market cap of nearly $9 billion, says it is pulling services due to US sanctions against Cuba’s communist government.

Western Union doesn’t need to serve Cuba in order to stay successful. After all, MoneyGram has done just fine without the Cuban market. But Cubans still need a way to receive money from abroad. Therefore, pardon the cliche, but Bitcoin just might fix this. 

According to a 2020 Florida International University study, an estimated total of $2-4 billion per year is sent from the US to Cuba via a mix of formal and informal channels. Since almost half of Cuban American families send money to relatives in Cuba, there’s strong evidence that these cash injections play an important role in the Cuban economy.

But US-Cuba remittances have been under threat since President Trump took office in 2017.

In a bid to up the pressure on Cuba’s communist government, the Trump administration reversed several Obama-era moves to normalize relations with Cuba. In September 2019, the US Treasury Department forbade remittances to Cuban government officials so that US dollars couldn’t go toward “enriching Cuban regime insiders and their families.” It also limited the size and frequency of remittances to family members.

After the administration published new restrictions last month, Western Union decided to pull the plug.

“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. “We sincerely regret this situation and its impact on our customers.”

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, told Decrypt, “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.”

Machado pointed to Paxful, which left Venezuela in September: “They have booming biz in many countries [and] don’t need Venezuela to sustain themselves, so they likely took their lawyer’s advice and pulled out.”

Boaz Sobrado, a data analyst and founder of tourism site WhyNotCuba.com, laid out to Decrypt the scenario for Cuba, which faces some of the same economic problems as Venezuela.

“Basically, the following is happening. Cuba is experiencing the double whammy of sanctions and high levels of inflation,” he said. “The two main avenues for hard currency to enter the country, tourism and remittances, are shut off due to sanctions and COVID.”

That provides an opening for Bitcoin. Sobrado relayed what he sees as increased interest in peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchanges: “The order size for bids and sells has grown massively in the Telegram channels.” Whereas selling 1 BTC a day would have been a stretch just last year, he said, “now people sell 12 easily.”

Sobrado said services like Bitremesas, a crypto exchange established for remittances that doesn’t require Cuban recipients to have a bank account—have popped up for Cubans to get around sanctions, as have informal remittance shops where people can trade BTC and foreign fiat for Cuban currency.

Without competition from the usual money transfer suspects—PayPal, Stripe, and Square don’t send to Cuba—such crypto operations have less competition. But, for now, it’ll have to be local. The same reasons that forced Western Union out of Cuba are also keeping international firms like Paxful from settling there.

In the meantime, there’s still time to send via Western Union. The last day to send money to Cuba is November 22, and it must be picked up by November 23.

Blockchain

Cardano price prediction – Long-covering to trigger more pain in ADA/USD

Cardano price prediction has still not come out of the woods ADA/USD challenging upper resistance at $0.1403 as selling pressure mounts Cardano still in the bullish uptrend on the daily charts Cardano price follows broader market – Profit booking can trigger selling The ADA/USD pair is still very much engrossed in bearish Cardano price prediction. […]

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  • Cardano price prediction has still not come out of the woods
  • ADA/USD challenging upper resistance at $0.1403 as selling pressure mounts
  • Cardano still in the bullish uptrend on the daily charts
Cardano price prediction – Long-covering to trigger more pain in ADA/USD 1
Cryptocurrency heat map by Coin360

Cardano price follows broader market – Profit booking can trigger selling

The ADA/USD pair is still very much engrossed in bearish Cardano price prediction. The diverging wedge between the price action and the volume is worrisome. The numerous signals cast a dark cloud over Cardano’s price prediction, signalling that a bearish reversal is on the cards. Sellers can intensify pressure and push the pair near the bottom of the Bollinger Bands

Another aggressive round of selling can push the pair towards the day’s low of $0.1314. However, bulls have started emerging on the scene as the pair has printed fresh new green candles, indicating that long-term bullish Cardano price prediction is still in play. On the other hand, the price rise can trigger long-covering by the traders looking to protect their investments and book profits.

Cardano price movement in the last 24 hours – Altseason goes in stagnation mode

The broader altcoin decline hit the ADA/USD and touched a $0.1194 low taking it dangerously close to the 20-day EMA. However, the pair was quick to repair as bulls initiated buying on lower levels. Whether or not the buying turns into accumulation and then into a bullish Cardano price prediction remains to be seen.

On the hourly timeframe, the buying momentum is weakening. The bullish wave has been preventing lower lows but is unable to close the pair above the crucial resistance level at $0.155. The price is trading near the middle of the contracting Bollinger Bands, where the 9-day EMA and SMA are staging a probable crossover. For the past two days, bears have maintained selling pressure at higher levels and damaged any minor bull rallies.

The declining volumes and a significant bearish divergence with price action can trigger another bearish wave. The upward Cardano price prediction must gain pace to touch $0.155 to approach the 55-day SMA next. The multi-week high near $0.1830 is still a far-fetched target on the hourly charts.

ADA/USD 4-hour chart – 20-day EMA holds the key

Cardano price prediction – Long-covering to trigger more pain in ADA/USD 2
Cardano price chart by TradingView

Technical indicators are trading in the neutral zone on the hourly charts. The daily charts are a different story, though, where they are still bullish. However, the 4-hour chart is getting interesting as the pair consolidates with higher highs. The RSI is at 46, meaning there is enough room on the upside. The MACD reading is approaching the crossover stage and can participate in the bull run.

However, any extended bearish pressure can bring the pair under the 20-day EMA, where the price can plunge towards the $0.1142 level. Bulls must maintain high volumes and liquidity to create momentum sufficient enough so that the ADA/USD pair can close above the $0.155 level. Bulls must consolidate above $0.1487 to prepare momentum for the next move higher.

Cardano undertook massive consolidation near $0.11, which ultimately contributed towards its rise to the $0.1830 level. The extremely explosive move upwards meant that correction was just around the corner. The bearish symmetrical triangle near the upper resistance at $0.19 indicated that the decline was as fierce as the rise. Any bullish Cardano price prediction must break the bearish symmetrical triangle with suitable momentum to post fresh new highs.

Cardano price prediction conclusion – Expect persistent selling at higher resistances

The first significant resistance remains at the $0.170 level, and the point also marks the 23.6 percent Fibonacci retracement of the recent uptrend. Bears will start building the selling action near the $0.1650 pivot point. The 4-hour chart shows that the pair is printing higher lows – a short-term bullish signal on the hourly timeframes.

The Cardano price prediction can turn bullish once the price approaches a $0.1762 swing high. A confident breakout beyond the $0.1800 mark will mean that the pair is set to rise towards $01920 resistance levels. The bearish indicators have cooled down, and bearish divergence can form once again on the hourly scales.

The long red wicks mean that the sellers have penetrated below the support regions. The next round of selling can turn aggressive as it will be driven by a take-profit trend, which can intensify if the broader market enters sell-off mode. If BTC/USD starts posting recovery, altcoins will follow suit.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Facebook’s Libra Could Reportedly Arrive in January 2021 in a Scaled-Down Version

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  • Although Facebook failed to launch Libra in mid-2020 as initially planned, the social media giant could do so in early 2021.
  • Finance Times cited three people working on the project claiming that Libra’s long-awaited launch could come in January 2021 but in a scaled-down version.
  • CryptoPotato reported before that Libra already changed its original idea from being a “single global digital currency” to creating a series of various digital coins. 
  • The FT coverage asserted that Libra could see the light of day after receiving approval to operate as a payments service from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). However, the Libra Association would initially release just a single coin backed one-for-one by the dollar. The other set of currencies would be rolled out later, should the FINMA application is successful.
  • Facebook rattled the financial world last year after announcing plans to launch its own cryptocurrency called Libra. After receiving scrutiny from world watchdogs, the Libra project underwent numerous changes, including executive replacements.
  • Libra suffered more blows when several notable partners left. Those included PayPal, Mastercard, eBay, Vodafone, and more.
  • In an attempt to salvage the project, the Association decided to make further changes by renaming Libra’s wallet provider from Calibra to Novi.

Featured Image Courtesy of AlJazeera

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/facebooks-libra-could-reportedly-arrive-in-january-2021-in-a-scaled-down-version/

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Bitcoin Worth $500 Million Withdrawn From OKEx as Users Look for Other Alternatives

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Users withdrew a record 29,300 BTC from OKEx after the Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange resumed withdrawals yesterday. This comes after bitcoin (BTC) price kickstarted its epic freefall dropping to levels near $16,500 before bouncing back up again. But what is the reason behind the massive bitcoin exodus out of OKEx?

OKEx Sees Significant BTC Withdrawals And Deposits

As per the latest update from on-chain and market analysis firm Glassnode, OKEx users have withdrawn a record 29,300 bitcoins after the exchange gave the green signal for resuming withdrawals yesterday. These BTC transactions amount to roughly $5 billion (considering the current spot rates).

Glassnode also observed a deposit of 21,600 BTC on OKEx. Withdrawals and deposits together had a depreciating effect on the exchange’s overall bitcoin balance which reduced to around 212,000 BTC.

The potential cause behind the massive exodus of bitcoin holdings could be a result of users leaving OKEx in search of other alternatives. Binance, Huobi, and some third party wallets were at the receiving end of the initial bitcoin transfers from the exchange.

Users Dissatisfied With OKex; Seek Other Alternatives

OKex announced the resumption of withdrawals on November 19. Few folks welcomed the developments, but most of them seemed miffed with the exchange’s recent bitcoin and crypto withdrawal suspension, with a lot of users demanding compensation else they make their move to other platforms.

Large BTC Deposits Point To ‘Centralized Failure’ Risks

As reported by CryptoPotato, OKEx had more than 200,000 BTC stored in their wallets during the ‘withdrawal lockdown.’

Although OKEx CEO Jay Hao assured users that their funds are safe and that there’s no “cause for alarm,” the vastness of the above bitcoin stash is pretty alarming. Especially because it is controlled by one single organization.

What’s more disappointing is that the official who had access to the private keys was ‘out of touch’ with the management. The OKEx personnel wasn’t able to reach out to him. This is not desirable since it poses huge risks to these BTC stashes falling prey to coordinated attacks that target centralized points of failure.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bitcoin-worth-5-billion-withdrawn-from-okex-as-users-look-for-other-alternatives/

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