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The Central African Republic adopts bitcoin as a legal tender

The Central African Republic has become the world’s second country to accept bitcoin as a legal currency. The president’s Chief of staff, Obed Namsio, confirmed the news in an official press release. The document, which was posted on the county’s Facebook page, claims that the bill was adopted unanimously. “The acceptance of Bitcoin as legal cash represents a significant step toward openness and new opportunities for our country.”According to reports, the bill was signed into law on April 27th. The exact law’s text is not yet available. 

According to the press release, the Central African Republic is “the first country in Africa to adopt bitcoin as legal tender,” putting it “on the map of the world’s bravest and most visionary countries.” It goes on to add that the move “represents the actuality of adopting cryptocurrencies as a means of payment” and that the CAR will “adopt the legislation project for cryptocurrency adoption.” As a result, numerous cryptocurrencies are at play. Something that could end up being disastrous. Especially given the hefty fines and jail terms that the law is designed to impose.

In our initial report on the subject, we cited an unconfirmed article of the law that allegedly states: “Any economic agent is required to accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment when offered for the purchase or sale of a good or service.” And all violators of the requirements of this law face a 20-year prison sentence as well as a fine ranging from 100,000,000to 1,000,000,000 CFA francs.( R1.6bn – R 16.5bn)

President Obama speaks out

The most significant development in this story today is that President Faustin-Archange Touadéra tweeted, “Mathematics is the language of the Universe.” Bitcoin is universal money.”  
That phrase alone demonstrates that the man is thinking about bitcoin correctly. Also, according to Samson Mow, the President of the Central African Republic “has two PhDs in Mathematics,” thus he has high regard for bitcoin.

So far, the mainstream media has covered the story condescendingly. As with most of their bitcoin articles, they frame the El Salvador case as a failure and a significant risk, and they push all of their standard FUD subjects to make people dread bitcoin. Aside from that, their investigative teams haven’t unearthed anything, although they do present some intriguing quotations from real Central African Republic citizens.

Euronews, claim, to have discovered new insights into the actual law saying:

“The new legislation addresses the use of cryptocurrencies, as well as individuals who use them, in online trade, “smart contracts… based on blockchain technology,” and “all electronic transactions.” It also said that bitcoin exchanges are not subject to taxation.”

They also cite Martin Ziguele, a “former CAR prime minister who is now an opposition MP,” who, in addition to objecting that the bill was adopted “by proclamation,” says:

“This law is a way of getting out of the CFA franc through a means that guts the common currency. It isn’t a priority for the country. This move raises the question: who benefits from it?”

Aside from those, Yahoo! News provides little information but reveals an intriguing fact. Bitcoin will be recognized as “legal tender alongside the CFA franc.” As a result, France’s monetary colonialism triumphs. Reuters, only quotes Obed Namsio, saying, “The president supports this bill since it will enhance the situation of Central African inhabitants.”

The BBC, on the other hand, offers an intriguing view on the matter.

What does the BBC think is going on in the Central African Republic?

According to the BBC, “when President Faustin-Archange Touadéra took office in 2016, the country began changing its strategic relationship away from France and toward Russia.” Their piece is quite propagandistic, but it does have an angle. “Some perceive Bitcoin popularity as a ploy to destabilize the CFA, as Russia and France vie for control over the resource-rich country.”

Could Russia have a say in the matter?

Could Russia have a say in the matter? The BBC quotes French analyst Thierry Vircoulon to make the argument, saying, “The setting, with the systematic corruption and a Russian partner-facing international sanctions, does invite suspicion.” 
To present a perspective, Economist Yann Daworo says, “Businessmen will no longer have to walk around with suitcases of CFA francs that will have to be converted into dollars or any other currency in order to make transactions abroad.”

The most noteworthy BBC remark, though, comes from “computer scientist Sydney Tickaya, who said he thought bitcoin acceptance was “premature” and “irresponsible.” He appears to concur with Martin Ziguele that bitcoin adoption is not a top priority in the Central African Republic:

“Internet connection in the nation is still poor, while Bitcoin is fully dependent on the internet,” he said, adding that the CAR has more serious challenges like security, education, and access to drinking water.

That brings us to Craig Warmke’s argument at Resistance.money, who believes it is “smart for a government to make bitcoin legal tender when only 11 percent of its population has access to the internet.” It appears to me to be a low-cost gamble that bitcoiners around the world will assist increase internet access, which would be a big advantage to the economy.”

Nonhlanhla P Dube

Nonhlanhla P Dube is a senior news reporter at Rateweb. Nonhlanhla is a student of International Relations at the University of South Africa. She reports primarily on personal finance and economics. You can contact her directly by email at [email protected]

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