Central African Republic adopted Bitcoin for the official currency. It is now legal instrument of payment within the country. According to the statement of the President of the Republic, the legislators made this decision unanimously, reported by BBC.
“This move puts the CAR on the map of the world’s boldest and most visionary countries,” the statement said.
The Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world. At the same time, it is rich in diamonds, gold and uranium. Conflicts have been raging in the country for decades, not without Russia’s participation. The CAR is a close Russian ally, and Wagner’s mercenaries are helping the state fight the uprisings.
The Internet is needed to use bitcoin, but in 2019 only 4% of the CAR population had access to the network. The country now uses the CFA franc with the support of France – as do most other French colonies in this part of the world. Some see the adoption of bitcoin as an attempt to weaken the CFA in the wake of the struggle between Russia and France for influence in a republic with rich resources.
“The context, given the systemic corruption and a Russian partner facing international sanctions, does encourage suspicion,” said French analyst Thierry Vircoulon.
The reaction of the people of the Central African Republic to this decision is mixed. On the one hand, businessmen will no longer have to carry suitcases of CFA francs and convert them into another currency to make purchases abroad. It also allows them to move away from the CFA, which is seen as a remnant of the colonial era, helping France maintain economic control. On the other hand, Internet access in the country is underdeveloped. CAR has more urgent needs, such as security, education and access to drinking water.
The country has suffered from ongoing conflict since independence in 1960. In 2013, Muslims seized power here. Since 2016, the CAR has shifted its strategic alliance from France to Russia after President Faustin-Archange Touadéra came to power.
The Central African Republic is the second country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as its official currency. El Salvador was the first to do so last September. At the time, the decision was criticized by many analysts. According to them, this increases the risk of financial instability and can also help criminals to launder money.