Saturday, January 28, 2023
  • The Sango included opportunities to buy land, residency and citizenship
  • The constitutional court in the country ruled that citizenship did not have a price and that residency requires physical presence in the Central African Republic
  • Land in the smart city area of 250 square metres can be purchased by bonding US$10000 worth of Sango for 10 years

The Central African Republic is no stranger when it comes to the controversy around digital currencies. Its adoption of Bitcoin as a legal tender shocked the Bank of Central African States.

Now, the controversy has also been brought to their Bitcoin-backed Digital currency, the Sango, as the Constitutional Court has ruled that purchases of land, residency and citizenship with the digital currency are unconstitutional.

The Sango

The Sango was launched on the 21st of July. The digital currency operates on the Bitcoin blockchain. In addition to the digital currency, the project also includes a smart city, land, e-residency and citizenship, which can be acquired through buying and bonding Sango for varying periods.

Land in the smart city area of 250 square metres can be purchased by bonding US$10000 worth of Sango for 10 years; the bonded investment is returned after the 10 years. For residency, you are required to bond US$6000 worth of Sango for 3 years.

Read: Crypto adoption: the political economy of Central Africa Republic’s bold Bitcoin ‘decision’

Similar to the land purchases, the bonded Sango will be returned to the investor at the end of the duration. For Citizenship, investors are required to bond US$60000 worth of Sango for 5 years, with the investment being returned at maturity.

Sango for citizenship ruled unconstitutional

The constitutional court in the country ruled that citizenship did not have a price and that residency requires physical presence in the Central African Republic. For the latter, what is on offer is e-residency or electronic residency.

This is catered to people such as digital nomads who can come into the country to work nomadically. The view of the constitutional court is that a resident needs to stay in the country physically.

Blow to CAR’s digital currency adoption?

It is not clear how much trouble this causes for the Sango. Indications are that there has been slow uptake of the token so far. Only  5% of the available tokens have been purchased.

The popularity of the land, residency and citizenship programs is hard to assess. The Central African Republic is a country with many challenges that need to be addressed. The thrust of the government by adopting Bitcoin and going on this digital assault is to leverage the technology to combat financial inclusion and mobilise investment in the country’s vast mineral resources.

The International Monetary Fund warned the CAR that Bitcoin was not the panacea to the problems the country faces.

The CAR’s government has not commented on the August 29th ruling yet. The degree to which the Central African Republic’s efforts have faced opposition is interesting. Recently, the Central African States Bank called for a single digital currency. The currency is to serve the Central African States in the Central African Monetary Union.

The Central Bank believes that the adoption of Bitcoin threatens the monetary stability of other member nations. These countries include Chad, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, as well as the CAR itself.  The central bank also recommended a common framework for the region when it comes to digital currencies.

Read: Central African Republic announces plans for a central bank digital currency

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