Despite recent bouts of intense volatility, the Central African Republic (CAR) has adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. The lawmakers, in CAR, unambiguously adopted the bill. President Faustin-Archange Touadera signed the bill into law on Wednesday.
CAR is the second country in the world to have made Bitcoin legal tender. In September 2021, El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency.
An official statement highlighted that the adoption of Bitcoin represents a decisive step toward opening up new opportunities for the country. It said that this puts CAR “on the map of the world’s boldest and most visionary countries”. This comes a day after CAR revealed plans for a legal framework for the use of cryptocurrencies. However, cryptocurrencies rely heavily on the internet and as per the WorldData website, just 4% of people in CAR have access to the world wide web.
Sydney Tickaya, a computer scientist, said CAR is “premature and irresponsible” to adopt cryptocurrency. He argued that the internet is still underdeveloped in the country and Bitcoin, as a matter of fact, operates entirely on the internet. Tickaya said CAR has other pressing issues to look into such as access to clean drinking water, education, and security.
The Central African Republic uses the French-backed CFA franc as its currency. Experts see its inclination toward Bitcoin as an attempt to undermine the CFA. Thierry Vircoulon, a French analyst, says systemic corruption and a Russian partner-facing international sanction raise suspicion. But there are some who are very much optimistic about CAR. Yann Daworo, an economist, believes it would make life easier as transactions can be made with smartphones. Moreover, its easy to convert Bitcoin to any other currency.
The economist said businessmen will not have to walk around with suitcases of CFA francs that will have to convert into dollars or other currency to make purchases abroad. Daworo highlighted that there are growing calls in several countries for the franc to be dropped by those who see it as a relic of the colonial era. It enables France to continue to exercise economic control.