The Central African Republic (CAR) has approved Bitcoin as legal tender. The second country to do so.
CAR is one of the world’s poorest countries, but is rich in diamonds, gold and uranium.
It has been wracked by conflict for decades and is a close Russian ally, with mercenaries from the Wagner Group helping fight rebel forces.
Lawmakers voted unanimously to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, said a statement from the CAR presidency.
The move puts CAR “on the map of the world’s boldest and most visionary countries”, it said.
El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency in September 2021.
The move was criticised by many economists, including the International Monetary Fund, which said it increased the risk of financial instability.
Others have raised fears that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could make it easier for criminals to launder money, and that they are environmentally damaging because they use so much electricity to generate.
The country currently uses the French-backed CFA franc as its currency, along with most other former French colonies in Africa.
Some see the adoption of Bitcoin as an attempt to undermine the CFA, amid a contest for influence over the resource-rich country between Russia and France.
The CAR has suffered from ongoing conflict since its independence in 1960.