Central African Republic Becomes Second Country to Adopt BTC as Legal Tender

April 29, 2022, 10:05 AM AEST - 3 weeks ago

The rumours are indeed true – the Central African Republic (CAR) has become the second nation state to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, according to official government sources:

‘Now Our Country is One Step Ahead’

According to a statement from President Faustin Archange Touadera’s office, the National Assembly has passed, and he has signed, a bill establishing a legal and regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, making bitcoin legal tender alongside the CFA franc:

Official announcement per Minister of Digital Economy

To some the news was surprising but to others less so, as CAR’s finance minister Herve Ndoba told Bloomberg last week:

There’s a common narrative that sub-Saharan African countries are often one step behind when it comes to adapting to new technology. This time, we can actually say that our country is one step ahead.

Herve Ndoba, CAR finance minister

Details Somewhat Murky for Now

Several sources in both traditional and crypto media have managed to verify the announcement on the ground, along with several credible Bitcoiners who make it their mission to establish the facts.

One of those is human rights advocate Alex Gladstein, who noted that the bill had been in the works for the past month “with a lot of debate and criticism from the opposition, but [it] was passed unanimously on April 22”. It is also understood that “some opponents of the bill didn’t show up for the vote, and some plan to challenge it later”.

Another Bitcoiner with her ear to the ground is Anita Posch, a Bitcoin educator on a mission to orange-pill Africa. She took to Twitter saying that the official statement “looked legit”, but that bitcoin wasn’t legal just yet as several compliance measures were required to “complete the process”:

Clear Obstacles Stand in the Way of Adoption

The most obvious challenge is that less than 11 percent of CAR’s population of 4.83 million have access to the internet, suggesting that the CFA franc will remain dominant for now. In fact the United Nations describes it as the second-least developed nation on Earth.

In addition, many in the opposition and civil society continue to believe that Bitcoin is a scam, as noted by Gladstein. He adds, however, that the government’s motivation may be twofold:

  1. it could open new opportunities and provide new economic development; and
  2. due to civil war, bitcoin could make it easier to trade in/out of the CFA franc.

Despite these challenges, Bitcoiners have cheered on the news, suggesting “two down [referring to El Salvador and now CAR], just another 193 to go”.

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