The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), eNaira, is finally ready for debut by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, October 25, 2021.
The event was originally scheduled for October 1, Nigeria’s 61st anniversary of independence. The launch, however, was delayed due to certain difficulties, including a lawsuit brought against the central bank by a private entity that first registered the name eNaira with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
The CBN claimed that instead of focusing solely on introducing the eNaira on October 1, 2021, it began work on the digital currency’s design and architecture to avoid risks perceived during its initial introduction.
When the E-Naira is fully released today, Nigeria would be one of the first countries to have a CBDC, according to the apex bank. While the CBDC is not intended to replace cash, it is supposed to coexist with it. Nigeria would become the fifth country to implement a centralized national electronic money, joining Cambodia, Sweden, South Korea, and the Bahamas. China, the United Kingdom, and others are considering introducing their own digital currency ahead of the United States.
Bitt Inc., a Barbados-based financial technology company that employs blockchain and distributed ledger technology to facilitate safe peer-to-peer transactions, was chosen as the project’s technical partner.
The CBN revealed plans to create the E-Naira four months after prohibiting cryptocurrency transactions in the country, stating that the unregulated cryptocurrency market is facilitating fraud and unregulated money outflows, exposing the Nigerian public to tremendous losses and hazards.
The central bank, on the other hand, anticipated that the launch of the eNaira will assist deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria because it is aimed at both the banked and unbanked segments of the population. According to data from the Enhancing Financial Inclusion and Access (EFInA), just 64 percent of Nigerian adults were in the financial system in 2020, far short of the CBN’s aim of 80 percent.
While experts have acknowledged the potential benefits of the E-Naira, they have also advised the CBN to increase public awareness because the digital money might be easily accessed by hackers to scam innocent people if a solid security framework is not in place.