The Central African Republic (CAR) has adopted bitcoin as legal tender, the president’s office said on Wednesday.
The move makes the African country the second nation in the world to officially adopt BTC as a lawful currency, enabling its citizens to use it in regular commerce as well as to pay taxes.
CAR lawmakers unanimously approved a bill legalizing the use of cryptocurrencies in the country and making bitcoin and the CFA franc legal tender. President Faustin Archange Touadera then signed the measure into law, his chief of staff Obed Namsio said in a statement.
The CAR “is the first country in Africa to adopt bitcoin as legal tender,” Namsio said. “This move places the Central African Republic on the map of the world’s boldest and most visionary countries.”
The statement was posted on the President’s Facebook account. AFP first reported the news early on Wednesday.
The news contradicts a statement reportedly made by CAR Finance Minister Herve Ndoba on Tuesday stating that the legislation being passed did not mirror the Salvadoran foray into bitcoin adoption.
El Salvador became the first country in the world to bring bitcoin under its umbrella of legal currencies last year. The Central American country’s Bitcoin Law came into force on September 7, 2021, as citizens and businesses were given the green light to transact in the peer-to-peer digital currency.
While the majority of El Salvador’s population did not have access to the banking system when the country’s bitcoin adoption began, internet access was widespread. However, the same can’t be said for CAR.
Internet penetration in the African country was estimated to be only 11.4% of the population in January 2021, which could hinder a widespread usage of BTC as the digital currency leverages internet connectivity for peer communication in the network and for sending payments.