The Central African Republic (CAR) has approved Bitcoin as legal tender – just the second country to do so. Lawmakers voted unanimously to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, said a statement from the CAR presidency. The move puts CAR “on the map of the world’s boldest and most visionary countries”, it said.
El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency in September 2021 – a move criticized by many economists, including the International Monetary Fund, which said it increased the risk of financial instability. Others have raised fears that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could make it easier for criminals to launder money, and that they are environmentally damaging because they use so much electricity to generate.
The country currently uses the French-backed CFA franc as its currency, along with most other former French colonies in Africa. Some see the adoption of Bitcoin as an attempt to undermine the CFA, amid a contest for influence over the resource-rich country between Russia and France.
Economist Yann Daworo told BBC Afrique it would make life easier, as transactions can be made with smartphones and it was easy to convert Bitcoin to any other currency. “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 to make purchases abroad,” he said. He also argued that the CFA was not being used “to benefit Africa”. There are growing calls in several countries for the currency to be dropped by those who see it as a relic of the colonial era, enabling France to continue to exercise economic control.
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