The Central African Republic became the first country in Africa to adopt BTC as a means of payment. According to Forbes, the country’s BTC Act was passed in the RCA National Assembly unanimously.
With this, the use of BTC as a means of payment is regulated in the African country. The law sets specific rules for the use of cryptocurrencies, as well as penalties for crimes in this market.
Central African Republic adopts BTC a means of payment
The nation is one of twelve that use the Central African franc on the continent, a currency controlled by France. The CFA franc, however, is frowned upon by many countries as a tool of French control.
On the other hand, many newspapers, including Forbes, have given that RCA has approved the use of BTC as legal tender. However, it was unclear whether BTC will join the CFA franc as the country’s official currency.
The bill that makes BTC official currency came from the government itself. The law was introduced by the Minister of Digital Economy, Services and Telecommunications Gourna Zacko, and by the Minister of Finance and Budget Calixte Nganongo.
In principle, the bill establishes the legal framework for the regulation of cryptocurrencies, as well as the use of BTC as the official currency in RCA.
The application of the legal proposal implies acceptance as a legal means of payment established through specific legislation. This law aims to lead RCA down a path of economic development and performance, a dynamic field popular with investors worldwide and ever-present as complete assets in the portfolios of the biggest financial players.
Under the law, merchants and businesses will be able to make cryptocurrency payments on a day-to-day basis. In addition, the use of BTC and its peers in the payment of taxes would also be possible, as long as it is done through entities authorized by the government.
The new crypto law also made provisions for lawbreakers who break the laws. According to one report, offenders could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined between 100 million to 1 billion CFA francs($ 163 800 – $ 1 638 000) .
Difference between usage and legal status
Gloire is the founder of KiveClair, a project inspired by El Salvador’s BTC Beach created by refugees from RCA in Congo. He spoke about the new law passed in his home country.
For the refugee, BTC and cryptocurrencies were not declared official currencies, but had their status of legal use. In other words, citizens of CAR will be able to use them instead of the CFA franc with the support of the law.
“The real implication for people is that they can now access currencies other than the CFA franc while being protected by law and transfer money at a lower cost. Above all, they can carry out financial transactions without banks (while being protected by law),” he said.
In practice, however, the use of BTC as currency is indeed legal even without official currency status for now.