Authorities in the Central African Republic have unanimously passed a bill aimed at legalizing bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies, making it the first African nation to officially give bitcoin a legal tender status. The authorities say the move is part of the country’s economic recovery and peacebuilding plans.
The Central African Republic Adopts Bitcoin
The Central African Republic, one of the world’s least-developed nations, with more than 60 percent of its population living in abject poverty, has adopted bitcoin (BTC), the world’s flagship cryptocurrency as legal tender.
Per sources close to the matter, the country’s minister of the digital economy, post services, and telecommunications, Gourna Zacko, and the minister of finance and budget, Calixte Nganongo, formulated and submitted a draft law aiming to put in place a legal framework for cryptocurrency regulation, while also making bitcoin a legal tender for goods and services, alongside the country’s existing fiat currency.
The National Assembly of the Central African Republic (CAR), unanimously passed the bill into law on April 23, 2022, making it the first African nation to take the bold step of integrating bitcoin into its economy.
With a population of just over five million people, roughly 71 percent of the citizens of the Central African Republic live below the international poverty line ($1.90 per day), according to a recent World Bank estimate.
Bitcoin to Foster Prosperity and Economic Stability
Now, the authorities have made it clear that the country’s crypto adoption push is in a bid to foster economic recovery and peacebuilding. Though the country is yet to map out a blueprint for its crypto implementation project, it’s very unlikely that the Central African Republic will venture into bitcoin mining activities, as energy access in the country is extremely limited, with only 14 percent of the population having access to electricity.
Nonetheless, the authorities say they firmly believe that creating amenable policies for and investing in the nascent digital asset class will be beneficial to millions of people and the nation’s major parliamentary groups, Mouvement Coeurs Unis (MCU) and Mouvement National des Independants (MOUN), which were initially against the bill, are now in support of the project, with hopes that bitcoin integration would bring prosperity and economic stability to the Central African Republic.
On September 7, 2021, El Salvador, a tiny Central American nation led by president Nayib Bukele, successfully implemented the Bitcoin Law, making it the first sovereign state in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, despite strong criticisms from international authorities such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Though El Salvador’s plans to build a tax-free Bitcoin City that would take advantage of the geothermal energy generated by volcanoes in the region to mine bitcoin, is yet to gain full momentum, as the country has put its $1 billion Bitcoin Bond issuance on hold despite massive demand, project Chivo is already having a positive effect on the nation.
Earlier in February 2022, Morena Valdez, El Salvador’s Minister of Tourism revealed that the Bitcoin Law has triggered a 30 percent increase in the number of tourist visits in the region.
At the time of writing this report, the price of bitcoin (BTC) is trading around $38,811, with a market cap of $737.38 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.