Nigeria is optimistic about the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the eNaira, although the new launch date has not yet been announced.
Nigeria and authorities’ optimism about the CBDC
There are reports that optimism reigns in Nigeria, especially among the authorities, regarding the launch of Africa’s first CBDC, the e-Naira.
The authorities, through the use of the CBDC, will have more control and will be able to better monitor digital currency transactions, curb the Naira black market and also help integrate millions of Nigerians into the banks.
The blockchain expert Janet Kaatyo stated:
“[eNaira] is going to make cross border payments easier and it is going to make it easier for the naira to be widely used and accepted. So, Nigeria is gradually getting to the point where cryptocurrency is seen as an unstoppable force”.
The great popularity of crypto in Nigeria has actually led to citizens being very interested in cryptocurrencies precisely to find better alternatives to the continuously weakening state currency, the Naira.
This strong interest, however, has not stopped the citizens from considering the eNaira in its CBDC version. In fact, the official website was reportedly visited by millions of people in the hours leading up to the initial launch.
Nigeria and the postponement of the launch of eNaira
It was October 1, 2021, the official date for the launch of eNaira. A day that coincided with the African country’s Independence Day anniversary.
Yet, for reasons not yet published but of a bureaucratic nature, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had to postpone the launch.
The announcement was made by Osita Nwanisobi, the CBN’s director of corporate communications, who to date, a week after that October 1, still seems not to know or have not declared the new launch date for eNaira.
Nigeria: CBDC beyond money laundering, corruption and disintermediation
Daniel Yerimah, digital strategist, said Nigeria’s CBDC will also help tackle money laundering and corruption. Here are his words:
“Everything built on blockchain is very safe and secure. Another thing again is it’s universal, parts of the benefits they intend to achieve with the eNaira is it will be used for both international and local trade and also it’s going to be to fight corruption”.
In this sense, Nigerian citizens will be asked to verify whether the new eNaira will really bring the aforementioned benefits, compared to other decentralized cryptocurrencies already circulating in the market.
Not only that, another issue also concerns Nigerian intermediary banks who are criticizing the CBDC as it could give the CBN more control over citizens’ financial rights.
According to blockchain analyst Jadel Chidi this direct link between CBN and citizens will not result in “disintermediation” of intermediary banks but rather, there will be a web portal where every eNaira user will be able to create and access their own wallet linked to the account they already have with their bank.