Incredible. As it turns out, the Central African Republic is the second country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. An official press release from the president’s chief of staff, Obed Namsio, confirms the news. The document surfaced on the country’s Facebook page, and, among other things, says that the bill was approved by a unanimous decision. “Bitcoin adoption as legal tender represents an important step towards openness and new oportunitties for our country.”

Apparently, the bill was signed into law yesterday, April 27th. The text of the actual law is not available yet. The press release also says that the Central African Republic “is the first country in Africa to adopt bitcoin as legal tender,” and the move put it “on the map of the world’s boldest and most visionary countries.” Later on, it says that the move “represents the fact of accepting cryptocurrencies as a mean of payment” and that the CAR will “adopt the law project concerning cryptocurrency adoption.”

So, multiple cryptocurrencies are in play. Something that could turn out to be disastrous. Especially considering the steep fines and jail time that the law is supposed to entertain. In Bitcoinist’s first report on the matter, we quoted a still unconfirmed article of the law that supposedly says:

“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 offenders to the provisions of this law will be possible a prison sentence of 20 years, together with a fine of between 100,000,000 to 1,000,000,000 CFA francs.”

Related Reading | Why This Executive Predicted Bitcoin Will Be Legal Tender In 5 Countries By 2022

Let’s explore what mainstream media uncovered about the Central African Republic’s bitcoin adoption.

The President Speaks Up

The most important thing that happened today regarding this story is that President Faustin-Archange Touadéra tweeted “Mathematics is the language of the Universe. Bitcoin is universal money.” That phrase alone is evidence that the man is thinking about bitcoin in the right way. Also notice that, according to Samson Mow, the Central African Republic’s President “holds two PhDs in Mathematics,” so this is high praise for bitcoin on his part. 

President Faustin-Archange Touadéra also tweeted the following video, with the comment, “The fact that all of you have turned your attention toward us, encouraging & motivating us, but at the same time obliges us to continue our mission.”

Notice that the President’s Twitter account only has around 3K followers. How many will he have in the following months, considering what he did for his people?

BTC price chart for 04/28/2022 on Gemini | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com

Is There More To The Central African Republic’s Story?

So far, mainstream media has treated the story in their usual condescending way. As with most of their bitcoin articles, they try to frame the El Salvador case as a failure and as a huge risk, and they push all of their usual FUD topics to try to make people fear bitcoin. Besides that, their investigative teams haven’t uncovered much, but at least they provide some juicy quotes from real citizens of the Central African Republic.

The only one that uncovered new insights about the actual law is Euronews, they say:

“The new legislation covers the use of cryptocurrencies and those who use them, in online trade, “smart contracts… by blockchain technology” and “all electronic transactions”. It also said cryptocurrency exchanges are not liable to tax.”

They also quote Martin Ziguele, “a former CAR prime minister who is now an opposition MP,” who, besides complaining that “the bill was approved “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?”

The people of the Central African Republic benefit and fixing the money is the highest priority for any country. Next question. 

Besides them, Yahoo! News doesn’t provide much information but uncovers a curious fact. Bitcoin will be “legal tender alongside the CFA franc.” So, France’s monetary colonialism prevails. For their part, Reuters just provides a dry Obed Namsio quote, “The president supports this bill because it will improve the conditions of Central African citizens.”

The BBC, though, has an interesting take on the subject.

What Does The BBC Think Is Happening In The Central African Republic?

According to the British news agency, “after President Faustin-Archange Touadéra came to office in 2016, the country started shifting its strategic alliance from France towards Russia.” Their article is incredibly propagandistic, but at least it has an angle. “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.”

Could Russia be involved in the decision? To make the case, the BBC quotes French analyst Thierry Vircoulon, “The context, given the systemic corruption and a Russian partner facing international sanctions, does encourage suspicion.” To provide a counterpoint, the quote Economist Yann Daworo, “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.”

Related Reading | India Will Never Accept Cryptocurrency As Legal Tender, Says Finance Secretary

The most interesting BBC quote, nevertheless, comes from “computer scientist Sydney Tickaya said he thought the adoption of the cryptocurrency was “premature” and “irresponsible.” He seems to agree with Martin Ziguele in the idea that bitcoin adoption isn’t a priority for the Central African Republic: 

“Internet access is still underdeveloped in the country while Bitcoin depends entirely on the internet,” he said, adding that the CAR had more pressing issues such as security, education and access to drinking water.”

That leads us to Resistance.money’s Craig Warmke theory, who thinks, “Smart for a country to make bitcoin legal tender when only 11% of its population has access to the internet. Looks to me, in part, like a low-cost bet that bitcoiners globally will help increase internet access, which would be a huge boon to the economy.”

Is Warmke overthinking it or is he on to something? We’ll probably find out in the following months. The Central African Republic’s bitcoin story is just beginning.

Featured Image by GDJ on Pixabay | Charts by TradingView

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