Cuban artists are being denied from NFT trading platforms due to US sanctions

Cuban artists are being denied from NFT trading platforms due to US sanctions

According to recent reports, Cuban artists and other nations that face US sanctions are being blocked from NFT trading sites. The creators have been delisted from the sites without notice.

Update: OpenSea has banned more than 30 Cuban creators from their platform.

US sanctions keep spilling over to the digital assets industry

Cuban interactive media composer Alejandro Pablo Garcia Alarcón discovered a remedy during tough times. That remedy was NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens)

Alejandro and several artists have undergone hardships in the past few years, such as the pandemic that spiraled into Cuba’s tourism environs. Further, more heat came their way as American sanctions that don’t apply to arts made it difficult for Cubans to sell their collectibles. Artists who endeavor into political activities, such as Garcia, are more likely to face even more critical circumstances as they can’t be featured in Cuban galleries.

NFTs are digitized unique pieces of art that can be transacted via crypto in the blockchain. Due to the decentralized characteristics of the channel, they provide artists with a relatively unique chance to make money from their craftsmanship over a global stage having minimal speech restrictions.

Garcia, also dubbed Paolo De, stated that freedom was the motive for entering the NFT ecosystem. Moreover, artworks can be sold to distinct locations without passing via an intermediary or a filter. However, entrances have commenced being shut for creators from Cuba and other sanctioned nations in the year. Pivotal NFT trading platforms have steadily obstructed them from conducting business on their channels, frequently with minimal or no clarification.

As per Cuban NFT creators, Garcia Alarcón is among 30 creators whose profiles have already been removed from at least two American-owned NFT trading sites. Among them are KnownOrigin and OpenSea. Either of the two websites didn’t answer an email from the Press Association request for remarks.

Several major Cuban virtual arts community brands, such as Havana’s well-known immersive art gallery, photographer Gabriel Guerra Bianchini, and Fábrica de Arte Cubano, the first individual to live in Cuba while selling an NFT art piece, have had their listings removed.

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In addition, Gabriel Guerra’s work “Hotel Habana 3/10” features a mixture of photos of Havana’s old, classic buildings stacked on top of each other, making an immersive blow in the local art environment. Currently, his Opensea page states, “404. The page is lost.”

In April 2021, Garcia Alarcón started trading NFTs on OpenSea. His initial task served as political coverage on the contentious incarceration of resisting Cuban creators in January of the same year. He made $200 from the sale and continued to sell approximately 20 further NFTs via the online platform.

Garcia Alarcón was once elevated as a creator to view by OpenSea. However, he was unexpectedly barricaded from his profile in March. He stated:

“They sell you the idea of freedom, that you can show your work, that there’s no censorship. You use the platform to show what you can show in your own country, and then this happens.”

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