Nigeria Set to Launch a National Digital Currency on Monday

By Benzinga
October 25, 2021 Updated: October 25, 2021

After a delay of several weeks, the Central Bank of Nigeria is launching a digital currency that will complement the country’s physical money.

What Happened

The launch of the eNaira was originally planned for Oct. 1 to Oct. 4 but was delayed due to the celebration of the 61st anniversary of Nigerian independence on Oct. 1. The rollout of the country’s digital currency comes after Nigeria banned crypto transactions, including Bitcoin BTC, within the banking sector in February and four months later announced plans for the eNaira.

Nigerian officials say the eNaira, will complement the physical Naira, making “financial transactions easier and seamless for every strata of the society,” the CBN said in a statement on Saturday, according to a Bloomberg report.

Why It Matters

The Central Bank of Nigeria partnered with Bitt Inc., a Barbados-based fintech startup, to create the digital currency. The company hails itself as the Caribbean’s leading authority on digital currencies. “The CBN’s selection of Bitt Inc., from among highly competitive bidders, was hinged on the company’s technological competence, efficiency, platform security, interoperability, and implementation experience,” the central bank said in a statement.

The CBN released a document titled “The Design Paper for the E-naira” earlier this month. “While the launch of the e-naira is an important event, it is one milestone on a long journey,” the paper reads. “The e-naira is a process, not a single step. Over time, the CBN believes the robust ecosystems that will be built on the e-naira platform will ensure Nigeria and Nigerians receive all the benefits from the e-naira.”

The eNaira website indicates the digital currency will come with a wallet sanctioned by the CBN. Users can either link to their bank accounts or choose with a prepayment option.

By Michael Cohen

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