I have translated the law from the Central African Republic that makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies legal tender in the country. I speak French fluently, however I´m sure the translation is not perfect. The text at times uses archaic expressions and legal jargon that was hard for me to parse. I´d be happy to hear suggestions of how any passage can be translated better.
Here is the original source in French: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=305889275031562&set=pcb.305888361698320&type=3&theater
Other than for two big differences that I´ll come to in a moment, this bill is almost identical to El Salvador´s Bitcoin Law.
The two main differences are:
Any crypto asset that is deemed to be a cryptocurrency by a newly created institution called ANTE will be used as legal tender with absolutely no taxation. Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency explicitly mentioned in the bill and so for now it is the only cryptocurrency currently accepted as legal tender.
The second difference is that there is an explicit exclusion for individuals who for “known or obvious reasons” cannot accept cryptocurrencies due to their digital nature. For example, people who do not have access to the internet or mobile devices are not obliged to accept cryptocurrencies as payment.
Analysing the most important takeaways
-Bitcoin is explicitly cited as a reserve currency.
-Cryptocurrencies are defined as peer-to-peer decentralized networks that provide a digital currency
-All cryptocurrencies can be used as legal tender for purchasing goods and services as well as for paying taxes, and no cryptocurrency transaction or trade shall be subject to taxation. (Article 10)
-A government institution called ANTE will be established and will be responsible for emitting regulatory texts regarding cryptocurrencies.
-The definition of cryptocurrencies expresses the subjective characteristic of “decentralization” for it to be binding, therefore it seems clear to me that ANTE is the organization that will determine which crypto assets are decentralized enough to be considered to be cryptocurrencies and therefore be considered legal tender. This means that some but not all alt coins will be considered legal tender, as decreed by ANTE. Bitcoin´s place as legal tender is already established since it is defined as the reserve cryptocurrency. This also means that at the time of writing, since ANTE is yet to be constituted let alone emit a list of which crypto assets are deemed to be cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is the ONLY cryptocurrency considered to be legal tender, for now at least…
The government, without hindering the private sector from also doing so, will provide convertibility services and custodial wallet solutions, meaning we can probably expect a government wallet to be launched at some point similar to Chivo Wallet.
-The Central Bank will create a Trust in order to ensure the instantaneous convertibility between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.
-Cryptocurrency miners will be taxed on their profits, even if they do not sell or convert the cryptocurrencies they have mined. The value of the mined cryptocurrency will be the exchange rate on the day that the mining occurred, and that value will be used to calculate earnings and tax obligations pursuant to current legislation.
-Any individual who for known or obvious reasons is unable to process cryptocurrency transactions are excluded from being subject to Art 10. I imagine this mainly refers to people without internet and/or mobile devices, which is pretty relevant regarding the socioeconomic circumstances of CAR. (Article 21). Therefore, large business will be expected to accept cryptocurrencies (with the ability to automatically convert to fiat with the help of a government service, just like in El Salvador). But individuals will have a lot more freedom. This is a very important provision and is key in maintaining people freedom and ultimately gives them the final decision whether they wish to adopt Bitcoin or not, as it should be.
-There seems to be two pretty glaring mistakes with articles incorrectly referring to other articles. Article 20 references a time period in article 25, however there is no time period mentioned there, but there is one in article 24, so we can only assume that´s what they meant. Similarly, article 21 states individuals can be excluded from the obligation of article 11, however article 11 makes no allusion to individual obligations and is a provision for the state government to follow. We can only assume that article 21 meant to refer to article 10. I don´t know if we should be worried or simply amused by such bureaucratic ineptitude.
-Everyone subjected to this law must be compliant within 30 days after the publication of the law. The deadline is therefore May the 22nd.
-Even more so that El Salvador, a country like the Central African Republic really has nothing to lose and everything to gain by enacting a law like this, and might be able to attract capital and investment to revamp their economy. I am worried however that this institution ANTE that will arbitrarily be deciding which shitcoins can become legal tender might be susceptible to bribes by shitcoiners.
Here below is the full translation
LAW NO. 22004
REGULATING CRYPTOCURRENCY IN
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
HAS DELIBERATED AND ADOPTED BY
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, HEAD OF STATE
PROMULGATES THE FOLLOWING LAW:
CHAPTER I: OBJECT AND SCOPE OF APPLICATION
The purpose of this law is to govern all transactions related to cryptocurrencies in the Central African Republic, without restriction, with unlimited purvey in all transactions and for any purpose, carried out by individuals or institutions, whether public or private.
Bitcoin will legitimately be considered as a reserve currency.
As such, this law sets out the legal framework and modalities for implementing and securing such transactions, their related infractions, sanctions and required evidence.
The foregoing is without prejudice to the application of the law on monetary integration.
This law applies to individuals or institutions, both private or public:
-Who provide online trading activities related to cryptocurrencies;
-Whose activity is to offer access to cryptocurrency services to the public through Information and Communication Technologies;
-Who offer services through BLOCKCHAIN technology, which gives rise to the culmination of a smart-contracts to procure goods or services.
Transactions related to cryptocurrencies, of whatever nature, taking the form of a purchase, withdrawal or sale, are subject to the provisions of this Law.
However, exchanges or transactions using cryptocurrency platforms shall remain subject to the non-contradictory rules applicable in commercial and civil legal code and when applicable those provided for by the legislation currently in force.
CHAPTER 2: DEFINITIONS
For the purposes of this law, the following definitions shall apply -
CRYPTOCURRENCIES: digital currency issued by peer to peer (digital asset), without the need of a central bank, based on a blockchain and usable through a decentralized computer network;
BITCOIN the reserve cryptocurrency;
BLOCKCHAIN, a chain of blocks consisting of records of continuously generated data, in the form of blocks linked together in the chronological order of their validation, with each block and its sequence being protected against modification;
MINER, an operation that consists of validating a transaction, carried out, for example, in Bitcoin , by encrypting the data and recording it in the blockchain. The operators, individuals or companies, who use the computing power (of processors, computers or graphics cards used for video games) to validate a transaction are called "miners". In practice, miners use software to solve a mathematical problem, which results in the validation of a transaction;
MINERS, people who mine cryptocurrency transactions based on Blockchain technology with software, and mining infrastructure;
VOLATILITY the variation observed in the price of cryptocurrencies, since they are denominated in currencies and have no fixed value. They can be traded against gold standard, Dollar or any other currency;
CHAPTER 3: CRYPTOCURRENCY OPERATIONS
The exchange rate between cryptocurrencies and the currency used in the Central African Republic is freely determined by the market.
All electronic transactions in the Central African Republic may be expressed in cryptocurrencies that are legally recognized and governed by regulatory texts.
Tax contributions may be paid in cryptocurrencies through platforms recognized and authorized by the Central African Government
Cryptocurrency trades are not subject to tax.
For accounting purposes, the legal currency used in the Central African Republic are considered to be the reserve currency.
Any economic agent is required to accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment when offered in exchange for the purchase or sale of a good or service.
Without prejudice to the actions of the private sector, the State shall provide alternatives enabling the user to carry out transactions in cryptocurrency and to have automatic and instantaneous convertibility of cryptocurrencies into the currency used in the Central African Republic.
The limits and functioning of the automatic and instantaneous conversion and issuance alternatives are specified by the regulatory texts.
CHAPTER 4: THE INSTITUTIONAL BODY FOR THE CONTROL OR REGULATION OF ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS AND CRYPTOCURRENCY
A National Agency for the Regulation of Electronic Transactions, abbreviated to ANTE, is hereby established.
This Agency is responsible for controlling and managing all public ATMs installed by the State on the national territory.
Cryptocurrency miners are considered to be independent actors and must declare their earnings in legal tender in the Central African Republic.
The supervision of the activities of cryptocurrency miners is ensured by regulation.
For taxation purposes, the reference exchange rate for the cryptocurrencies´ value shall be taken on the date of mining.
Any profit made by the trader is subject to the General Tax Code.
The provision of exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies and the provision of custody portfolio services are new entities subject to this law.
CHAPTER 5: DATA PROTECTION AND INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY
A law on cybersecurity/cybercrime and a law on the protection of personal data shall be adopted and promulgated, as well as the creation of related bodies to ensure the protection of users' data and the security of infrastructures related to transactions.
CHAPTER 6: CRIMINAL PROVISIONS
In addition to the provisions of the Penal Code and the texts currently in force, any person who contravenes the provisions of this law shall be liable to a penalty of ten (10) to twenty (20) years' imprisonment and/or a fine of 100,000,000 FCFA to 1,000,000,000 FCFA.)
CHAPTER 7: MISCELLANEOUS, TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS
The Central Bank shall issue the corresponding regulation within the period provided for in Article 25 below of this law.
Those who, by a known and obvious fact, do not have access to the technologies that enable cryptocurrency transactions are excluded from the obligation expressed in Article 11 aforementioned in this Law.
All monetary obligations denominated in CFA Francs existing before the date of entry into force of this Law may be paid in cryptocurrency.
Before the entry into force of this law, the State shall guarantee through the Central Bank by the creation of a Trust, the automatic and instantaneous convertibility of cryptocurrencies into legal tender of the alternatives provided by the State referred to in Article 8 above.
All actors involved in cryptocurrency transactions have thirty (30) days to comply with this law from the date of its promulgation.
The Statutes of ANTE shall be approved by a decree issued by the Council of Ministers.
This law, which takes effect from the date of its promulgation, is registered and published in the Official Journal.
Signed in Bangui, on 22 APR. 2022 by
Prof. Faustin Archange TOUADERA