By JEAN FERNAND KOENA
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — Central African Republic has legally recognized the use of cryptocurrency after the president approved a law adopted by deputies last week that has also made bitcoin an official currency alongside the West African CFA franc in the African nation.
President Faustin Archange Touadera validated the law Wednesday, saying that the exchange rate between cryptocurrencies and the FCFA is freely determined by the market. Tax contributions can also be paid in cryptocurrencies through platforms recognized by the government, the government statement said.
It said the country is now the “first country in Africa to adopt bitcoin as a reference currency.”
Central African Republic is among the world’s poorest countries, according to the United Nations, and has been in a state insecurity and increasing violence for nine years. The government controls the capital, but much of the country is controlled by armed groups.
Many officials and civil society groups including Citizens Standing in Solidarity with Central African Republic have protested this law, saying it risks national sovereignty.
“By imposing cryptocurrencies as national currency, the power of Bangui has just sold off the little that still remained of the authority of the State and its power to control its economy, and therefore its development,” the group said in a statement.