The Central African Republic has emerged the first country in Africa to adopt Bitcoin as its official currency. Central African Republic adopts Bitcoin as its official currency The development was announced Wednesday by the country’s Presidency, after a bill that would govern the adoption of crypto assets was passed by parliament.
A statement that was signed by the Chief of Staff to President Faustin-Archange Touadera, which was obtained by Reuters, said in parts that "the president supports this bill because it will improve the conditions of Central African citizens”.
The statement went further to disclose that the adoption of Bitcoin in the Central African Republic would open up new opportunities for the country.
Interestingly, the move has drawn criticisms from two of the country’s former Prime Ministers. In a letter they co-authored and released last week, the former Prime Ministers expressed concerns over the development. They also described the decision to adopt Bitcoin without first consulting with the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) as a "serious offense".
It should be noted that the Central African Republic is among the six African states that currently use CFA franc which is governed by the BEAC.
A spokesperson for the regional central bank acknowledged that “the BEAC learned at the same time as the public of the enactment of a new law on cryptocurrency in Central African Republic”. They however noted that the BEAC does not yet have an official response to the development.
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The adoption has come as a surprise at a time when many African central banks have expressed their skepticism and reluctance to embrace cryptocurrency. Recall that Nigeria had in 2021 banned its local lenders from facilitating crypto transactions. Earlier this year, a number of banks were penalised for contravening the ban.
Meanwhile, others like South Africa and Kenya are still prospecting the potentials and possible best ways to regulate cryptocurrencies.
In the meantime, the Central African Republic is the second country in the world, besides El Salvador, to adopt a cryptocurrency as an official currency.