Africa’s position as a global leader in crypto adoption could get a boost if efforts to launch a stablecoin in Central Africa succeed.
The TON Foundation is in talks with governments in Central Africa to launch localized stablecoins on its blockchain. Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the Republic of Congo are driving the initiative.
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While the plan is not connected to the countries’ central banks, Cameroon’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications was involved.
In the DRC, the Ministry of Digital Economy has responsibility, and in the Republic of Congo, the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications, and Digital Economy is running the project.
Recent press releases from the three countries outlined their initial thoughts about cryptocurrencies and how they intend to incorporate them into their respective economies, with lower remittance fees a key target.
“We have different types of stable digital assets: you have CBDCs, which are mostly used for interbank settlements, and then you have consumer mass market stablecoins, like USDC and USDT, that are dollar-pegged,” an anonymous source told Forbes. The DRC will pursue a hybrid approach.
“We’re not attempting to replace a national currency, and we’re not aiming to do a CBDC, which is obviously run by a central bank,” said the source.
As the name suggests, stablecoins are digital tokens backed by real-world assets. These assets can be fiat money, commodities, or even another cryptocurrency. They are designed to maintain a stable value, with their value being pegged to one of these assets.
Nigeria was first country in Africa country to launch a CBDC
The eNaira was launched by Nigeria last Oct. It became the first African country to establish a CBDC. Many young Nigerians turned to crypto in the wake of high inflation experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three countries share a common currency and central bank, the Central African CFA franc, which the Bank of Central African States manages.
Both Cameroon and the Republic of Congo are part of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC), a six-nation union with a common currency and central bank.
In addition to Cameroon, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo use their own currencies, the Congolese franc.
Telegram integration a key selling point
According to the source, Cameroon and DRC are focusing on adopting a blockchain network that is affordable for transactions and easily accessible. TON’s focus on integration with Telegram, and the distribution benefits that it brings, is a significant advantage.
Early indications indicate that the government will be promoting crypto adoption in these countries by integrating with Telegram messenger. This integration will allow for crypto-based peer-to-peer payments through bots in the messaging application.
This is similar in concept to WhatsApp’s ability to allow residents in India or Brazil to send money via the app. WhatsApp’s current P2P payments feature only supports fiat.
Cameroon ‘proudly leading the way’
The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications for Cameroon said in a TON press release, “This marks a step-change in the economic destiny of Cameroon, as we look forward to a more digitally-enabled future economy. By collaborating with TON to develop a viable digital financial model for our nation, we are proudly leading the way in bringing access to modern financial instruments to all.”
An expert from the DRC said, “Based on careful evaluation, TON’s technologies, products, and stage of development provide us with the greatest potential to achieve our ambitions.”
It is unclear how the crypto initiatives of these Central African countries would impact or integrate with existing mobile money structures.
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