May 21, 2022

Can QvaPay Break Through Cuba’s Embargo? Or, Is It A Governmental Spy Tool?

4 min read

The argument around QvaPay is just starting. On the one hand, the app is an option for Cubans abroad to send out cash to their loved ones on the island. On the other, it’s implicated of being a surveillance tool for the Cuban Government. Let’s start from the beginning, however. Recently, a post in Coindesk made the rounds inside bitcoin circles.

Nevertheless, is QvaPay as innocent as it seems?

Martha Bueno Accuses QvaPay

In the following video, Candidate for Commissioner Miami-Dade District 10 Martha Bueno lays it down. She describes Erich Garcia Cruz as “a member of the Cuban Regime,” and demonstrations his visitor speaking function in the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami. According to Bueno, the city host “the biggest group of Cuban refugees worldwide” and getting him would be “disrespectful.”

Then, Martha Bueno enters into QvaPay, paraphrasing what she states in the tweet, “QvaPay is an application to send out remittances to Cuba, however it is really harmful for Cubans! Rather of getting Bitcoin, Cubans will receive worthless MLC, or a “Chuck E Cheese” coin, and might confront 10 years in prison! Be careful!”

After that, she knocks QvaPay as a way for the Government to pay tabs on Cubans who get money from abroad. And certifies the app as simply another tool in the Government’s “toolbox of oppression.” Her call to action is to ask the Bitcoin 2022 conference to rescind Erich Garcia Cruz’s invite.

Is Martha Bueno on to something? Or is she exaggerating? Let’s analyze her invoices. But first, what is she referring to with “useless MLC”? According to Cuban Adventures:

“MLC is a term you may hear rather often, it means Moneda Libremente Convertible, or Freely Convertible Money, which suggests foreign currency. Although MLC can be EUR, USD, GBP, and so on, it is treated as if it’s a currency itself.”

So, according to Bueno, fiat currencies are “Chuck E Cheese” coins.”

BTCUSD price chart for 03/16/2022 - TradingView

 BTC rate chart for 03/16/2022 on FTX|Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com MarthaBueno's Receipts

As exhibit A, Bueno reveals screenshots of QvaPay's CEO extoling having a user's "IP and cookies" and says: "Erich Jose Garcia Cruz tells the world that QvaPay isn't "confidential". They keep IPs and cookies. Since of the nature of the dictatorial program in Cuba, this might imply jail time for the people that utilize QvaPay."

In the previous video, Bueno said that the prison time might be approximately 10 years. Is she overemphasizing? According to Diario de Cuba:

"Article 143 of the initial draft of the new Penal Code, which the Supreme People's Court published on its site, develops that: "Whoever, by himself or on behalf of non-governmental companies, global institutions, associative forms or any person natural or legal entity of the nation or of a foreign State, supports, encourages, finances, provides, receives or has in its possession funds, material or funds, with the purpose of defraying activities versus the State and its constitutional order, sustains a sanction of deprivation of liberty from four to 10 years."

So, yeah. Political dissidents, activists, and reporters might be in problem if they utilize QvaPay as a remittance service. Bueno also equated a tweet that seems to identify Erich Garcia Cruz as "an advisor to the MININT."

What will occur with this story? Will the Bitcoin 2022 Conference rescind the invitation, double down on their decision or simply neglect the allegations? Neglecting the accusations, that's been QvaPay's CEO technique up until now.

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