Remember the francophone Bitcoiners that visited the CAR a couple of weeks ago? Well, they released a “Report from the Bitcoin Delegation in the Central African Republic” and we’re about to summarize what it says. The “Bitcoin Delegation” issued the report in Paris and it addresses President Faustin-Archange Touadéra directly. “This document will also be available to the public so that our work is fully transparent, as is the norm within the Bitcoin community,” it warns.
Problems Found On The Ground
As Bitcoinist reported, the francophone Bitcoiners were in Bangui, the Central African Republic’s capital, “helping the attendees download bitcoin wallets and distributing sats to them; explaining the difference between bitcoin and the rest of crypto, answering that first set of questions everyone interacting with the technology for the first time has.” In the francophone Bitcoiners’ report, they elaborate, “the main objective of this trip was to understand the Central African Republic context better and identify the main factors that will encourage or inhibit the adoption of Bitcoin in the country.”
Understanding #Bitcoin is crucial to acknowledge its disruptive power to bring long term prosperity. Mathematics don't account for human emotions.Future generations will look behind at these very moments to ? our strength & unity in choosing the right path during hard times #BTC
— Faustin-Archange Touadéra (@FA_Touadera) June 14, 2022
The main problems they identified were:
- Access to Electricity – “The energy divide between Bangui and villages requires special attention to avoid an economic divide between cities and isolated areas,” they explain. Bitcoin is the right tool to fix this. How, exactly? Keep reading to find out.
- Access to Internet – They found “300’000 customers with mobile internet access;” and ”100% 3G coverage in Bangui.” Plus, a “project financed by the Bank of Development of Africa for fibre optics installations.” Internet penetration rates are not ideal, but there’s nowhere to go but up.
- Access to Information About Bitcoin – “Uninformed people can easily fall victim to cryptocurrency scams carried by promises of quick and easy income.” As the current state of the market shows, this is true everywhere in the world.
And the main advantage the francophone bitcoiners found was ”Mobile Money Usage,” to pay with one’s phone is extremely common in the Central African Republic. However, “a significant part of the population does not have a national identity card, which is mandatory to buy a SIM card.” That’s a solvable problem, be it by the easy path of relaxing regulations or by the hard road of legally identifying all citizens.
BTC price chart for 06/15/2022 on Bitfinex | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
The Francophone Bitcoiners Propose Solutions
In general, the main recommendation is to follow in El Salvador’s footsteps. Most of the suggestions for bitcoin adoption come from their playbook.
- Focus on Bitcoin to Facilitate Adoption – Even though only bitcoin is legal tender in the CAR, the actual law contained ambiguous language regarding cryptocurrencies in general. The francophone bitcoiners make it clear, “adding other crypto-currencies adds a substantial layer of complexity in understanding and use. Not focusing on Bitcoin alone will slow the population’s adoption process, or could even make it fail.”
- Buying and Selling Bitcoin – The ability to switch back and forth between BTC and the CFA franc is crucial for the adoption process. To accomplish this, the francophone bitcoiners recommend to “leverage the network of 12,000 mobile credit retailers. Mobile credit is one of the country’s most used means of payment, so it is essential to use a known model and not disrupt users’ habits.”
- Integrate the Lightning Network – It’s obvious that they need to use it, but the report recommends “the deployment of Lightning nodes within CAR will ensure the sovereignty of payments, and the uncensored use of the network.”
- Mining in the Central African Republic – We’re finally getting to the meat and potatoes of this report. Apparently, the CAR produces “very little electricity, with about 40MW of installed capacity.” The country has developed plans to build energy infrastructure but has never had the means to do it. Who could finance such operations? Bitcoin fixes this. Bitcoin mining, specifically.
“The Central African Republic has abundant sources of energy. According to our sources, the hydroelectric potential could create an installed capacity of 700 to 2’000 MW. The aim is to use mining as a subsidy to tap into this underexploited clean energy potential.”
- Education Programs – President Faustin-Archange Touadéra knows education is the key. In a recent tweet, he said, “Understanding #Bitcoin is crucial to acknowledge its disruptive power to bring long term prosperity. Mathematics don’t account for human emotions.” The report recommends a mix of governmental, University, and civil society programs.
“A considerable portion of the Central African population does not yet understand what bitcoin is and its merits as the country’s legal tender. The success of the legalisation of bitcoin cannot be achieved without the involvement of government, civil society and academia.”
In the “Report from the Bitcoin Delegation in the Central African Republic,” the francophone bitcoiners also recommend that the government develops a wallet, adopts a clear and attractive tax system, and issues government bonds.
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