- Artists from Cuba are now barred from using the once promising NFT trading Platform.
- For no apparent reason major NFT trading platforms were gradually excluded from doing business on their platforms because of US sanctions.
- According to emails obtained by the AP, artists assert they were never told why their accounts were deleted.
Cuban NFT leaders are concerned that de-platforming will have a long-term restraining impact on Cuban digital artists. Purchasing NFTs is already dangerous owing to recent volatility in the cryptocurrency market, as seen by the recent collapse of the prominent cryptocurrency trading site FTX and criminal charges filed against its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried.
According to D’Alerta, it may be considered even more of a danger for those purchasing from Cuban artists because the work could subsequently disappear from the major platforms.
“It’s heartbreaking and awful,” he says. “It’s another disappointment, you know. Another understanding is that they are not a member of the global community. ‘You are unable to engage,’ is essentially what (NTF platforms) are saying.”
The United States has placed economic restrictions on Cuba, including bans on commercial items such as cigars and rum; yet, these sanctions do not apply to much Cuban art. However, in certain situations, NFTs have become more of an investment vehicle, with NFTs selling for tens of millions of dollars during the 2021 boom.
For Gianni D’Alerta, a Cuban American who has spent his whole life in Miami and has never visited the island, the medium provided “an opportunity to participate with my culture” and bridge a longtime barrier between Cubans on the island and in Miami.
He is the founder of NFTcuba.ART, a global collective of over 100 Cuban artists. Gianni received an email from OpenSea stating that his NFTcuba.ART account had been suspended “due to behavior that violates its Terms of Service.