NFT marketplace OpenSea blocked Cubans by NFT


OpenSea, the largest market for non-fungible tokens (NFT), has blocked the accounts of artists and collectors from Cuba on its platform, citing US sanctions laws. Previously, users from Venezuela, Iran and Syria were subjected to similar repression.

According to Artnet News, representatives of OpenSea explained their decision by the desire to comply with state laws. The Terms of Service prohibit persons under sanctions, as well as persons in the jurisdictions to which they apply, from using the trading service.

Cuban artist Gabriel Bianchini said that the world of NFT was a salvation for him when during the pandemic people were stuck in a difficult economic, political and social situation. This technology has become not only a financial, but also a creative liberation for many.

However, OpenSea's decision did not come as a surprise to Cuban artists. This was to be expected, given the history of US sanctions against the country, which continues in the digital age. Some users recalled that Zoom, MailChimp, WeTransfer and Gitlab applications have long been unavailable to Cuban citizens.

NFT artist Yordanis Garcia stated that he foresaw a ban from OpenSea. He stressed that it is difficult to expect decentralization in such a world and not be accountable to the authorities because of the sanctions that the United States imposed against Cuba.

Some experts assured that this step contradicts common sense. Ted Henken, a professor at Baruch College, said that, ironically, in this case, both financially and in terms of free cultural expression, Cuban artists who did not deserve it suffered. Many of them have used their art to challenge government censorship or to comment critically on the complex social and political reality in Cuba. In other words, they supported the US position, but now they are banned.


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