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  • Writer's pictureSarah Dixon

CAR - 8 Months After Bitcoin Adoption

With only 10% of the Central African Republic having access to the internet, how has Bitcoin fared in the country since its adoption a few months ago?

When the Central African Republic (CAR) adopted Bitcoin as legal currency, many were exultant at the news. However, as Bitcoin has spiralled down into the depths of a bear market, things are not yet looking up, and there are also many other factors at play.

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According to Vice World News, Bitcoin use has been limited since its adoption, and there’s really no lack of understanding as to why. With 14% of the population blessed with electricity, and only 10% having access to the internet, only tourists have really been using the cryptocurrency.

Before Bitcoin, the land-locked country used the CFA franc, a currency used by a group of African countries, but disliked by many because of its links to its French colonial master.

President Faustin-Archange Touadera said at the time of the adoption “The alternative to cash is cryptocurrency. For us, the formal economy is no longer an option”.

As per the Vice article, Alex Lielacher, founder and CEO of Rise Up Media, a marketing agency that works with Bitcoin startups, says that given the absence of a Bitcoin community in CAR, he was surprised to see the cryptocurrency get legal adoption.

However, he did think that the CAR move towards Bitcoin had made France sit up and take notice that there was an alternative to the CFA. On the other hand, there were also other very powerful enemies that could be made:

“there are powerful institutions like the International Monetary Fund, for example, which CAR has to deal with, that are not happy about countries adopting Bitcoin. So there could be challenges that the government will have to deal with.”

The subsequent development of the CAR government’s own cryptocurrency, the “Sangocoin”, has probably further muddied the waters. The listing of Sangocoin has been delayed by the government, and according to Reuters, only 0.01% of its sales target have been reached.

Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer of the Human Rights Foundation, is a fervent exponent of Bitcoin, but he is not happy with how the CAR government has developed its cryptocurrency plan. He told Vice World News:

“So while I am very sympathetic to a vulnerable and poor nation adopting Bitcoin as a second currency – especially a nation that has been controlled financially by its former colonial power for decades and decades, I am not very optimistic about how the execution has unfolded,”

He added:

“It seems like the president is interested in Bitcoin and there's a small group of people around him who exploited that interest to be able to pass these laws to try and get the Sangocoin going, which they had a vision to make a ton of money off of.”

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Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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