Tanzania

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu signals interest in Bitcoin

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Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan. AFP PHOTO

Bitcoin has received a major boost after Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu urged the country to prepare to adopt the cryptocurrency.

Her speech in Mwanza on Sunday came a few days after El Salvador announced it had adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. A number of South and Central American nations have also signaled their readiness to adopt the use of Bitcoin officially.

President Suluhu told financial chiefs to prepare for cryptocurrency, saying the age of crypto and blockchain was dawning as she urged her country to pave the way for change.

She said Tanzania’s central bank should begin the necessary preparations to adopt global attitudes towards banking, singling out cryptocurrencies as the future of finance.

“We have witnessed the emergence of a new journey through the internet. The Central Bank should be ready for the changes and not be caught unprepared,” she said.

Serious acceptance

Outside of El Salvador and a handful of her neighbours, this is the first time a country’s president has openly acknowledged a serious acceptance of the digital currency.

The news from Tanzania came soon after recent sentiments from Elon Musk, who has, arguably, been the biggest influencer in the price of Bitcoin since its inception more than a decade ago.

The Tesla chief has recently sent the price of the digital currency skyward with news that his electric vehicle company would accept payments through Bitcoin.

But he also sent the price plummeting days later after announcing a Tesla could not be purchased with Bitcoin unless its mining process could be made more eco-friendly.

Market manipulation

However, the 49-year-old entrepreneur was riled by a Coin Telegraph article which quoted Magda Wierzycka – CEO of financial services firm Sygnia – as saying her fellow South African would likely have been investigated by authorities for market manipulation.

He responded on social media by saying the article was way off the mark.

Together with the news from Tanzania, those last six words from Elon Musk were enough for Bitcoin to shake off the shackles that had held it below $35,000 for much of the weekend and propel it to within a touching distance of $40,000.

Weekend trading, historically, gives a downward push across the cryptocurrency markets, so a sudden lift driven by news narratives will no doubt be taken as a signal that Bitcoin might be about to emerge from its recent slump.

With El Salvador, Tanzania and even Elon Musk now driving that narrative, the week ahead looks like a must-watch for cryptocurrency.