Russia's Mir banking cards may be in effect in Cuba by end of 2022
This is another way for Cuba to expand the banking and financial system to other markets.
By the end of 2022, Russia's Mir banking cards could be used in Cuba, according to Julio Antonio Garmendia Pena, the Cuban ambassador to Russia, speaking in an interview that was published in Izvestia newspaper Thursday.
"It’s expected that Mir could be used on the territory of Cuba by the end of the year," he said.
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According to Pena, Havana and the Russian National Payment Card System have been cooperating since 2021 to introduce the Mir payment system into the country.
"The first phase of the work, which aims to interconnect the payment systems of both countries, is nearing completion. At this stage, the focus was on the use of Mir cards at ATMs throughout the country," he said.
This is another way for Cuba to expand the banking and financial system to other markets, suggested the diplomat.
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"We see a huge potential in this, as it will greatly ease financial transactions between our countries and the stay of thousands of Russian guests on the island," he said.
Mir cards are currently in function in 10 foreign countries: Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The card can be used to deposit and withdraw cash and pay for purchases.
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Attempts to isolate Russia have driven the economic power to seek alternative deals and agreements with countries particularly suffering from US- and West-led sanctions.
Last February, Russian banks were excluded from the SWIFT interbank payment system by the decision of the European Commission and its allies. The maneuver was intended to hit the country's banking network and its access to funds via SWIFT, which is pivotal for the smooth transaction of money worldwide.
Last month, the Novosibirsk Institute of Software Systems (NIPS), a Rostec affiliate, developed a blockchain platform, dubbed CELLS.
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Hence the government organization Rostec, which brings together several local companies in the tech sector, announced that it was developing a system to allow international bank payments, and a pilot version was ready for testing and can now be used in banks.
This type of solution already exists, particularly in China. The country launched its international interbank payment system in 2015, called CIPS.
So far, operators from the National Technology Initiative Platform (NTI) reported that the load testing shows good performance, with the product's design speed reaching over 25,000 messages per second on one node, with the potential of leading to further growth.
Unlike the SWIFT technology, CELLS does not use classic blockchain but rather a three-tiered architecture in which a distributed register is signed and distributed in a certain way. Hence, the system is able to scale up and connect a large number of new users.