Nigeria's Central Bank Releases CBDC Website Ahead of Proposed Launch

CBN Getting Ready for eNaira Launch

The eNaira website went live this week ahead of the CBDC pilot scheme which will be rolled out on October 1, 2021, coinciding with Nigeria’s Independence Day. The website launched on Monday (September 27, 2021), and the digital currency is issued and regulated by Nigeria’s central bank.

The website claimed that the eNaira will ensure cheaper remittances, promote economic growth, boost financial inclusion, and curb the use of the digital currency for fraudulent activities. Furthermore, the webpage stated that the CBN’s CBDC would boost local and international trade with faster, cheaper, and efficient transactions, while also boasting about the digital currency’s security, among other benefits.

Parts of the website reads:

“eNaira serves as both a medium of exchange and a store of value, offering better payment prospects in retail transactions when compared to cash payments. eNaira has an exclusive operational structure that is both remarkable and nothing like other forms of central bank money.”

The digital currency project was first announced in June 2021 by Rakiya Mohammed, CBN’s information technology specialist. According to Mohammed, the Nigerian apex bank has been studying the possibility of a sovereign digital currency for years.

It was later revealed that the CBDC pilot scheme will launch in October. Meanwhile, the eNaira, also dubbed “GIANT”, will be built on the Hyperledger fabric blockchain, an open-source, enterprise-grade blockchain framework.

Also, the CBN governor Godwin Emefiele confirmed the October launch, adding that Nigerians

“will be able to download the eNaira app from either Google Play Store or App Store, fund their eNaira wallet using their bank accounts or with cash at a registered agent, location.”

More Central Banks Developing CBDCs

CBDCs continue to gain momentum as more governments and central banks across the globe work towards developing their sovereign digital currencies. China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has carried out extensive trials for its upcoming digital yuan, compared to any other apex bank.

Other countries also involved in CBDC projects include Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Ghana, South Africa, among others. South Korea’s central bank, the Bank of Korea (BOK) back in July selected Ground X, the blockchain subsidiary of internet company giant Kakao, as its technology partner for the digital won. The smartphone manufacturing company Samsung, is also part of the BOK’s CBDC project.

In a recent report by Reuters, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) said that CBDCs could reduce the cost of cross-border payments by 50%, and also speed up time for cross-border transactions from three to five days, to just seconds.

The BIS report is drawn from the conclusion involved in phase 2 of the multi CBDC pilot program called Project Inthanon-LionRock, which involves central banks of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). Following the completion of phase two, the project will now be called “mBridge”, with the next step will include “developing the prototype into a production-ready solution.”

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