Earlier this month, the president of the Central African Republic — the second country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender after El Salvador — unveiled its first "crypto hub."
Named "Sango," the hub is the African country's first foray into a crypto initiative since announcing Bitcoin's legalization in the country. Among other things, the crypto hub is set to work on policies like removing income taxes and corporate taxes for the crypto industry. It is also plans to create a "crypto island."
However, paperwork for Sango lists one of the main financial backers of the project as the World Bank. Specifically, it says that it has a "a $35 million development fund from the World Bank for the digitization of the public sector.” This has turned out to be incorrect — the fund is not linked to the crypto hub.
The World Bank said that the fund “is unrelated to any cryptocurrency initiative” and “the World Bank is not supporting ‘Sango.'"
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The World Bank was also quick to voice concerns about the African country's seemingly rapid adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender: "We have concerns regarding transparency as well as the potential implications for financial inclusion, the financial sector and public finance at large, in addition to environmental shortcomings [about the Central African Republic's Bitcoin adoption],” the bank said.
The bank also seemed to direct a barb at the Central African Republic's lack of input from the main regional bank overseeing its national currency, the CFA franc: “It is important that the relevant regional institutions, such as the central bank and the banking authorities, are fully consulted and remain in the driver’s seat.”
Regardless, crypto is gaining inroads across Africa, with crypto exchange KuCoin recently reporting that cryptocurrency-related transactions soared 2,500% last year across the continent.
CAR's internet penetration of around 7%, however, remains dismal and is a key hindrance to widespread crypto adoption in the country. According to DataReportal, only around 350,000 of nearly 5 million people in the Central African Republic are hooked up to the internet, which is essential to rely on the Bitcoin network as a payment method.