What just happened? No longer is El Salvador the only country in the world where Bitcoin is an official currency. Joining the South American nation is the Central African Republic (CAR), which has now approved the cryptocurrency as legal tender.
A bill governing the use of Bitcoin was adopted unanimously by parliament last week, writes Reuters.
Despite being rich in natural resources such as gold and uranium, CAR is one of the poorest countries in the world and has been embroiled in civil war since 2012. It currently uses the French-backed CFA franc as its currency, as do six other former French colonies in Africa.
What’s especially strange about CAR adopting Bitcoin as an official currency is that just 11 percent of the 4.8 million population have access to the internet, notes The Verge.
Former CAR prime minister Martin Ziguele, now an opposition MP, said the bill signed by President Faustin Archange Touadera was approved “by proclamation.”
It’s speculated that the move could be linked to CAR’s close relationship with Russia—it was one of the 35 nations that abstained from a United Nations vote condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—while also undermining the CFA and France.
“The context, given the systemic corruption and a Russian partner facing international sanctions, does encourage suspicion,” French analyst Thierry Vircoulon told the AFP news agency.
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El Salvador made history last year when it passed its Bitcoin law in June and the cryptocurrency became legal tender in September. The government has faced plenty of criticism from citizens and organizations over the decision, including the World Bank, which refused to help with the implementation, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has urged the country to drop Bitcoin as an official currency. But El Salvador isn’t giving up on crypto or its plans to build Bitcoin City.