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Central African Republic Makes Bitcoin Legal Tender

According to an April 26 presidential press release, after El Salvador, in September 2021, the Central African Republic becomes the second country to provide bitcoin as legal tender. This means that bitcoin will now be a means of payment that economic entities will have to accept. The country’s parliament has adopted a bill on the regulation of cryptocurrencies, which legalizes and regulates their use in the territory.

10% of the population have internet access

The Central African Republic, despite its natural wealth (gold, diamonds), is one of the poorest countries on the planet. According to the UN, it is the second least developed country in the world, with 71% of the population living below the poverty line set at less than $1.90 a day according to the World Bank. The Internet penetration rate in this country of 4.8 million people, which borders Chad, the DRC, Sudan and Cameroon, is estimated at 10%. And the bank rate is less than 5%, according to Iris. Unlike El Salvador, which has notably created its own cryptocurrency wallet, the Central African Republic has not announced any measures to support the development of cryptocurrencies.

Violence rages in the country amid a political crisis. A civil war has been raging there since 2013. The current president, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, also turned to the Russian paramilitaries for help in 2020. These connections with Moscow are of concern to world authorities in the context of the war in Ukraine and financial sanctions against Russia. In any case, it is “suspicious,” Thierry Virculon, a specialist in Central Africa at the French Institute of International Relations, told AFP.

Who benefits from this crime?

Former Prime Minister and opposition MP Martin Siegele announced his intention to challenge the law in the Constitutional Court. “This law is a way to get rid of the CFA franc through means that deprive the common currency of its content (…), this is not a priority for the country. This approach raises the question: who benefits from crime? , according to TV5monde. He and other deputies believe that this law will promote “dirty money laundering, create grounds for tax evasion and fraud,” we read on the RFBR website.

“Just exploiting the opportunity to use bitcoin is something that needs to be monitored very, very closely,” said Abebe Emro Selassie, director of the IMF’s Africa Department.

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