OpenSea censors Cuban artists to comply with US laws

Is OpenSea’s decentralization undermined once again? To comply with US sanctions, it seems that the main non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace has decided to limit and cancel the accounts of users residing in Cuba.

OpenSea suspends Cuban users

Cuba’s OpenSea users reported it this week their accounts had been suspended or even deleted by the world’s first non-fungible token (NFT) platform. This is the case of many artists, who have expressed their dissatisfaction on Twitter:

Rumors that OpenSea allegedly specifically targeted Cuban user accounts have spread in recent months. As of this writing, more than 30 artists have reported experiencing the same censorship from the platform.

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These were recently confirmed thanks to an in-depth media inquiry by Artnet, to which a spokesperson for the NFT platform explained that these restrictions are taken to comply with US sanctions:

We are truly sorry for the artists and creators who have been impacted, but OpenSea is subject to strict policies related to sanctions laws. We are a US based company […],which means we are obligated to block people who are in places affected by US sanctions.»

This is the justification provided by OpenSea when the previous wave of user account suspensionswhich concerned countries such as Venezuela, Iran or even Syria. In fact, while wanting to be decentralized, the platform is a company that must comply with the laws of its country.

For Cuban artists, this decision by OpenSea comes as no surprise. Follows from 60 years of US sanctions against the country, which have continued into the digital age as well. However, this interrupts the momentum of a promising and growing Cuban industry.

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