The Central African Republic, which adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in April, is poised to roll out its own digital currency as part of a plan to develop its financial industry.
The "Sango Coin", described as a "national digital currency" will go on sale on July 21 with a minimum investment of $500 to be paid in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, according to the country's Sango investment website.
Central African Republic became the first African state to make bitcoin legal tender in April, raising eyebrows among many crypto experts and drawing words of caution from the International Monetary Fund.
CAR’s crypto ambitions have raised concerns, given it is one of the world’s poorest countries with significant infrastructure gaps. CAR’s government said it wants to make the transfer of money easier for its citizens, but just 557,000 of its 4.8 million people have access to the Internet and electricity coverage remains low.
The plan comes as the market capitalization of digital assets has dropped by about $2 trillion since late 2021, with Bitcoin down more than 55% since the beginning of year.
While critics have questioned the launch of the crypto coin, the Sango concept deck shows that the CAR is not backing down. Instead, the concept deck appears to suggest that the CAR is planning to make Sango coins another acceptable form of payment
The nation’s treasury will hold 20% of the Sango Coin, according to a concept note on the project’s website. The Sango Coin’s use may also be tied to the marketing of the country’s resources and government services on citizenship, residency, and land ownership.
A 250-metre square plot of land is listed as $10,000, with the Sango Coins locked away for a decade. It was not clear if these options would also go on sale next week, when 210 million Sango Coins are on offer, priced at $0.10 each.
The website said there would be 12 more-coin sales, with the price increasing each time. Many details were unclear, including what technology is being used, which companies are supporting the rollout and whether the price of the token would be free-floating or fixed.
“Sango Coin will be the currency for the next generation. The Central African Republic sits on a mountain of resources such as gold, diamonds, rare minerals, unexploited resources. Sango Coin will enable the direct access to our resources for the whole world,” President Faustin-Archange Touadera said in a virtual briefing in April.