Central African Republic has NOT adopted Bitcoin as legal tender

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Media outlets reported the Central African Republic unilaterally approved a bill to accept Bitcoin as legal tender over the weekend — this is not the case.

A false report by Forbes Monaco spread like wildfire on Saturday, April 23, with crypto outlets like CryptoPotato, BeInCrypto, and Indian business news site Business Today picking up the story.

The legislation was submitted and approved in the National Assembly, but the content of the bill acknowledges and supports the use of cryptocurrency in the financial sector, rather than adopting Bitcoin as a national currency.

“This initiative will completely transform the [CFA franc’s] digital infrastructure by applying the blockchain technological innovation necessary for the project’s implementation. Investing in cryptocurrencies benefits millions of users, which even the opposition understood,” the Forbes Monaco article claimed.

  • CryptoPotato suggested that the CAR may be about to enjoy the benefits purportedly enjoyed by El Salvador.
  • Business Today noted the apparent unanimous support from the National Assembly intended “to assist the country’s economic recovery and peacebuilding efforts.”
  • BeInCrypto reported that the country’s officials agreed to use crypto to “boost” its failing economy and “generally digitize it.”

In reality, the CAR has passed a bill that will facilitate the growth of cryptocurrencies in the country as a form of payment. It will simultaneously provide a legal framework to regulate these digital assets.

However, the bill provoked strong reactions from the country’s opposition party. Three members of the commission that studied the bill submitted a letter voicing strong reservations. They specifically cited crypto’s potential use for money laundering, tax evasion, and fraud noted Radio France Internationale.

Interestingly, the bill proposes that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency will be used to circumvent the country’s national bank. Digital economy and telecoms minister Justin Gourna Zacko highlighted how the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) slows down remittance.

“As an individual, sending money to the Central African Republic from elsewhere becomes very difficult and also receiving money from the Central African Republic is complex because it is controlled, it goes through the Central Bank,” said Zacko (via RJDH).

With cryptocurrency, there is no more control of the Central Bank,” he continued.

The BEAC controls the monetary policy of several central African states including CAR, Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo.

Further details of the bill and the proposed regulatory framework are currently unclear. Protos will update this story when the full text becomes available.

Crypto media forgot to DYOR with Madeira, too

Such is the media’s thirst to break the next “Bitcoin as Legal Tender” story a similar misunderstanding occurred this month at Bitcoin 2022 in Miami.

Forbes (again) and Cointelegraph incorrectly reported that Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal near Africa, was making Bitcoin legal tender. Except, no one officially made this announcement.

In fact, Madeira’s regional president Miguel Albuquerque made a short speech intended to promote the region as a tech hub.

He also said that he believes in Bitcoin and Madeirans don’t pay capital gains tax when buying and selling it.

The confusion came thanks to an introduction from former Blockstream chief strategy officer Samuel Mow, who said that Madeira would be adopting Bitcoin. In an interview with CoinDesk, Mow claimed that his new crypto venture JAN3 would be helping the Portuguese region to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.

Read more: Bukele denies Binance chief is in El Salvador to discuss Bitcoin bond delay

The Block later received clarity from the president’s office who confirmed that “at no time was it said that the region would adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.”

While the media is keen for more nations to adopt Bitcoin, El Salvador is currently the only country to have made the move. President Nayib Bukele announced his big Bitcoin experiment at last year’s edition of the conference.

However, the move hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as the Central American country would have wanted.

  • On several occasions since Bukele’s initial announcement, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned against Bitcoin adoption.
  • In July, Moody’s downgraded El Salvador’s credit rating.
  • Credit default swaps betting on it not being able to pay its debts have tripled in price.

Recently the country deferred plans to offer $1 billion in Bitcoin-backed bonds. It’s waiting for a more favorable price outlook for the crypto market.

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Out now: the first three episodes of our new investigative podcast series Innovated: Blockchain City.

Edit 08:25 UTC, Apr 26: Corrected first and third paragraph for clarity about the proposed bill and its function.

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