30 Cuban artists and collectors have reportedly been censored on the OpenSea NFT marketplace to comply with US sanctions. It includes well-known artists from Havana, Gabriel Guerra Bianchini and the Fábrica de Arte Cubano,
A spokesperson for OpenSea told Artnet News that they are complying with the sanctions imposed by the US. The exclusion of Cuban artists from online marketplaces has been a point of contention throughout the years.
A company representative said, “Our Terms of Service expressly prohibit approved individuals, individuals in approved jurisdictions, or services using OpenSea.”
Artists exiled from OpenSea
Recently, @nftcubaart tweeted that none of the archive is viewable on OpenSea. However, their wallets and NFTs are still accessible, despite confirmation that the accounts have been disabled.
Gabriele Bianchini, the founder of Cryptocuban, replied:
“Very sad to see that the future of Web3 will not be decentralized.”
NFT artist Ernesto Cisneros said:
“In times of crisis, development works are done and this absurd attitude prompts us to think of more decentralization to protect our interests. This is the fundamental spirit on which we must focus our attention. Freedom, that simple.
Cubans removed from digital platforms
OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, is one of several online services that have locked out Cuban citizens in the past year. In 2021, the marketing platform MailChimp suspended the account of a Cuban journalist, only to restore it later.
In a 2021 interview with TIME, Cubans claimed that they were banned from several cloud services, blogging platforms, and other digital platforms, including NFT marketplaces. This is due to the history of nearly 60 years of economic sanctions against the nation by the US
In September 2019, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) tightened its sanctions. However, the Cuban Assets Control Regulation (CACR) still allows some services. For example, services such as web hosting, domain name registration, social networking, VOIP, and email or other messaging platforms.
The digital disruptions could worsen as companies strive to maintain a clean record on the US books. This is because the regulators have tightened their control over the cryptocurrency business. Especially in light of the FTX collapse and the sluggish cryptocurrency market.
Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, came under fire in July for allegedly violating US sanctions by allowing Iranian traders on its site. Soon after, Bittrex faced a $24 million fine from the US authorities in October. The claim was that the cryptocurrency exchange offered consumers a way to circumvent US sanctions on Syria, Iran and Crimea.
And given the current regulatory issues in the crypto market, any platform would potentially harbor further violations.
BeInCrypto has reached out to the company or the person involved in the story for an official statement regarding the recent development, but has yet to hear back.