Nigeria’s Central Bank Preps for Launch of eNaira Digital Currency

The official website of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) digital currency is live, Nigerian publication THISDAY reported.

Called the eNaira, the currency is slated to launch in a week. The site had more than 1 million hits in 24 hours, according to stats from the report, showing how much interest there is in the digital currency, the report stated.

The website promises easier financial transactions, offers peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, allows users to check balances and view transaction history, and make in-store payments with an eWallet through QR code scans, according to the report.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele has said in recent speeches that there would be numerous benefits, the report stated.

“We are going to be the first country in Africa to launch a digital currency,” he said, per the report. “It is a novel idea because we think it will facilitate trade. Nigeria being the biggest economy in Africa, this will set the tone to tell Africa that we are ready to lead, and we would indeed lead in trade, and we would make sure that happens.”

He added that his hopes are that a digital currency could help cross-border trade, allowing more financial inclusion and helping to engender more affordable, quick remittances, according to the report. He also said there could be targeted social interventions and more effective monetary policy, payment systems and tax collection.

He said central bankers in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are working on collaborations to integrate trade, payment and banking systems, in order to “set example on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” the report stated.

The CBN is the latest on the global scene that has taken steps to roll out a central bank digital currency (CBDC). It recently announced its tie-up with a global FinTech company, Bitt, as the technical partner for the project, according to the report.

Among the furthest along with a CBDC is China, which has also been taking steps to crack down on cryptocurrencies in what will give the country an easier path to debuting the CBDC.

Read more: China ‘Blanket’ Crypto Ban Paves Way for CBDCs