The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that the launch of the Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDC, dubbed eNaira, will be postponed.
The day scheduled for the official launch coincided with 1 October, the anniversary of the African country’s Independence Day.
Nigeria: the postponement of the eNaira launch and the probable cause
Announcing the postponement of the launch of eNaira was Osita Nwanisobi, director of corporate communications at the central bank:
“The CBN took the decision to postpone the launch, which had been initially planned to coincide with the Independence Day anniversary, in consideration of other activities lined up to commemorate the day”.
In fact, the day scheduled for the launch was today, to consecrate the new Nigerian CBDC alongside the 61st Independence Day anniversary.
According to reports, the probable cause for the postponement could be linked to the misuse of the name “eNaira” which, in fact, appears to be under scrutiny.
In this regard, a certain notice signed by Olakunle Agbebi Esq for Olakunle Agbebi & Co. was displayed, quoting as follows:
“Infringement of Trademark & Violation of Corporate Name cease and desist Notification to the Central Bank of Nigeria”.
Nigeria, the CBDC and growth in the crypto sector
It was late last August 2021, when Rakiya Mohammed, Information Technology direct, had stated that the CBN was ready to issue its central bank digital currency sometime today.
The CBN’s idea was that with the eNaira project, all Nigerian citizens would be incentivized to reduce their increasing use of unregulated cryptocurrencies.
In fact, earlier that month, Nigeria’s rise in bitcoin and crypto adoption had ranked the country second in the world in terms of volume of BTC traded.
There was talk of a trading volume of $2.4 billion in May 2021, compared to not even $0.7 billion in December 2020. A growth in five months of crypto usage of over 200%.
CBDCs and their evolution
While waiting for Nigeria to confirm the new launch date of its CBDC eNaira, a few days ago, there was talk of a prototype Digital Currency that would involve multiple central banks and government monetary authorities.
It is the mBridge project that uses Ethereum’s Hyperledger Besu blockchain with the aim of creating a digital currency for transnational transfers.
Four countries are already participating in the mBridge tests and experiments, namely Hong Kong and Thailand (where it all started), China and also the United Arab Emirates.
Thanks to this prototype, it seems that the benefits for cross-border transfers, in terms of speed and transaction costs, compared to the traditional system, is going beyond the CBDC concept of any single country.