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The Central African Republic declared Bitcoin, the world's largest and most popular cyrptocurrency, an official currency, Bloomberg reported. It is only the second nation in the world to accept the cryptocurrency as legal tender.

The country is also now the first African country to adopt Bitcoin as legal currency.

In September last year, El Salvador became the first country in the world to introduce Bitcoin as legal tender.

According to a government statement, President Faustin Archange Touadera validated the law Wednesday. Tax contributions can also be paid in cryptocurrencies through platforms recognized by the government.

Central African Republic is one of six nations that use the Central African CFA franc, a regional currency governed by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC).

“Cryptomoney including Bitcoin is now considered an official currency in CAR," Albert Mokpeme, spokesman for President Faustin-Archange Touadera, told Bloomberg.

“By legalizing the use of Bitcoin, CAR hopes to attract investors," he said, adding that its use would ease money transfers that can “sometimes be complicated in our country."

Two of the country's former prime ministers last week signed a letter expressing concern about the adoption of bitcoin without guidance from the BEAC, calling it a "serious offence".

The Central African Republic, which has gold and diamond reserves, is one of the world’s poorest countries. Years of violent conflict and a political crisis that gripped the country in the lead up to the presidential election in December 2020 have had a severe impact on the economy and damaged relations with its international partners, leading to delays in the distribution of vital aid and some partners suspending budget support.

Many officials and civil society groups including Citizens Standing in Solidarity with Central African Republic have protested this law, saying it risks national sovereignty.

Internet penetration in the landlocked nation is about 11% of the 5 million population, according to DataReportal, an online data portal.

African governments have taken a varied approach to regulating cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Nigeria's central bank barred local banks from working with cryptocurrencies last year before launching its own digital currency, the eNaira.

South African regulators have been exploring the potential regulation of cryptocurrencies and other blockchain technology, and Tanzania's central bank said last year it was working on a presidential directive to prepare for cryptocurrencies.

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