When the Central African Republic (CAR) adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in April, mayhem initially ensued, sparked by confusion, advanced by disagreements, and then driven by concern from global organizations like the World Bank.
But in a country of roughly 4.8 million people, just 11% of the population has internet access and only 14% have electricity. Everyday life since Bitcoin arrived has largely gone unchanged for the people of CAR, according to the Bloomberg Crypto podcast on Friday (Sept. 16).
“Not much has changed on the ground as far as I’m aware,” Bloomberg reporter Katarina Höije said on the episode.
“Many people don’t have bank accounts, it’s a very poor country. Most people wouldn’t be able to invest in bitcoin at all,” she said.
CAR is one of the least connected countries in the world and has one of the lowest GDPs as well, Höije said.
But that hasn’t stopped the country from moving forward and launching its own cryptocurrency in July, the Sango coin, and continuing to promote investments in the country’s mineral sectors. CAR has large reserves of natural resources like gold, diamonds, other minerals, and timber.
Höije said on the show that one of the country’s objectives in launching bitcoin as legal tender was “being able to attract investors to those sectors.”
The Sango coin, named for the country’s local language, was introduced by CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadéra at a launch event in July where he outlined possible perks to investing. He called cryptocurrency the country’s future.
Investment perks like e-residencies, which don’t even exist in the country’s constitution, Höije said, were dangled, as well as the possibility of buying land, and obtaining Central African nationality.