President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele on Monday, October 25, 2021 officially launched eNaira, Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in state house Abuja.
Nigeria is now one of the few countries to have launched digital currency ahead of nations like the United States, United Kingdom, etc.
The CBN believed eNaira will help plug loopholes in the financial system, curb illicit financial flows, strengthen security, improve data collection and monitoring.
Speaking on why he approved CBN’s decision to launch a digital currency, the president explained that his approval was “underpinned by the fact that the CBN has been a leading innovator in the form of money they produce, and in the payment services they deploy for efficient transactions.”
“They have invested heavily in creating a Payment System that is ranked in the top ten in the world and certainly the best in Africa,” the president said at the event in Abuja.
“This payment system now provides high‐value and time‐critical payment services to financial institutions, and ultimately serves as the backbone for every electronic payment in Nigeria.”
President Buhari further said, “estimate suggests the adoption of new CBN digital currency is estimated to increase Nigeria’s GDP by $29 billion over the next 10 years.
“We have become the first country in Africa and one of the first in the world to introduce a digital currency to our citizens.”
Africa’s largest economy has now launched two mobile applications for eNaira – eNaira speed wallet and eNaira merchant wallet – on Google playstore and Apple store to facilitate adoption and usage.
These applications tell eNaira potential users to“Get Ready With Your Accurate BVN Data For Your Hitch-Free Enrolment.
“To sign-up on the eNaira speed wallet, you would be required to input the following details exactly as captured during your BVN enrollment.
“First Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, State of Origin, and Email.
“Your Banks are waiting to assist you in validating and updating your BVN details to ensure seamless enrolment to the eNaira Platform.”
eNaira Compatible With Other Countries’ Digital Currencies
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stated that the execution of the country’s digital currency will be done in four different phases, and also lead to the cooperation of the eNaira with the digital currencies from other central banks.
This was said at the licensed payment service providers’ engagement session by the apex bank’s Director of the Information Technology Department, Rakiya Mohammed. The session took place in Lagos on Monday and consisted of interaction with a much wider category of industry players.
A statement released by Rakiya Mohammed stated that the CBN and important stakeholders in the payments ecosystem, especially the Payment Service Providers (PSPs) and a wide community of fintech groups, during the engagement session decided to collaborate and ensure that the eNaira which was launched recently is adopted by more people or groups.
Mohammed stated that the complete execution of the digital currency would be done in four different phases, which would culminate in eNaira payment solutions offline, payment across borders and the “interoperability of the eNaira with those of other central banks.”
She also confirmed that the CBN was not competing with the Deposit Banks, neither was it competing with other actors in the payment system space in Nigeria.
According to Mohammed, the engagement session was a continuation of the CBN’s plan to include every stakeholder. She also stated that the country’s apex bank was welcoming of any suggestions and transformations which are directed at adding value to the digital currency and improving the currency’s user experience.
The PSPs (as well as the huge community of fintech groups) were also encouraged to look for more innovative ways to assist members of the public when possible, in the onboarding process and use of eNaira. They have also been encouraged to develop solutions for offline eNaira services, which include cards, wearables and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).
eNaira Wallet Records Over 566,000 Downloads from 160 Countries – CBN
In a statement, the apex bank said that over 488,000 consumer wallets have been onboarded so far, with around 78,000 merchant wallets being acquired. The statement further stated that these downloads have occurred across 160 countries, according to data obtained from the Google Playstore and the Apple Store.
The bank also revealed that close to 17,000 transactions have been recorded, amounting to over N62 million. The average transaction falls at $9.3 each, as the numbers suggest a successful adoption rate.
The country’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the eNaira was officially unveiled by the Federal Government in October, in the country’s capital Abuja. The CBN stated that the launch of the CBDC was a result of several years of solid research in pushing the boundaries of the payment system, in order to make financial transactions much easier for all the classes of society.
The eNaira is also explained by the CBN as the digital form of the Naira, the country’s official currency and is issued in accordance with Section 19 of the CBN Act. The CBN stated that the eNaira is a legal tender and a direct liability of the bank. The CBDC will form part of the circulating currency and will be on the same level with the physical naira.
The guidelines introduced by the CBN concerning the eNaira state that the digital currency will complement the physical naira as a less costly, safe, more efficient and generally acceptable means of payment.
These numbers – which come less than a month after the official unveiling of the digital currency – show a general anticipation of the CBDC, both domestically (in Nigeria) and in the international market. The high number of downloads shows that people all over the world (Nigerian or not) have been patiently waiting for the digital currency to come out, so that they can acquire it. This bodes well for the future of the digital currency, which looks to be used very often when it finally kicks off properly.
CBN Urges Nigerians to Embrace eNaira amid Bitcoin Surge
The Central Bank of Nigeria has continued to encourage Nigerians to embrace the eNaira, Africa’s first Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
The appeal was made by the Director of the Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi at the Lagos International Trade Fair.
After inflation data from the United States further strengthened the notion that Bitcoin is a hedge against rising cost pressures, Bitcoin hit another record high and is currently weaving around the $64,000 range. However, the CBN’s ban on cryptocurrency transactions will not enable Nigeria to benefit from the fast-booming crypto market.
The CBN is introducing the eNaira to give the country’s citizens a secure option and satisfy those who have a high appetite for blockchain technology.
Nwanisobi highlighted some of the benefits of the new digital currency, stating that it is expected to “deepen financial inclusion” by bringing more Nigerians into the financial space, support a payment ecosystem with recognizable resilience, reduce the cost of processing cash in the country, enable direct intervention to the welfare of citizens while being completely transparent in dealings, increase transparency in the collection of tax collections and revenue, and reduce the cost of financial transactions.
Nwanisobi also mentioned that the digital currency will facilitate remittances concerning the diaspora, and improve the efficacy of regular payments.
Nwanisobi also acknowledged the positive responses to the launch of the digital currency. He said that customers who download the eNaira Speed Wallet App will be able to create a wallet, fund said wallet from their own bank accounts, transfer eNaira from their wallet to another eNaira wallet, and make payments for purchases at some registered locations. Nwanisobi referred to the naira (physical) as the pride of the nation, urging citizens to embrace the eNaira the way the naira is being embraced.
The CBN’s stance on cryptocurrency has since been known to be negative, as Nwanisobi himself once stated in an email that the Nigerian financial system lacks adequate space for cryptocurrency.
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