The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) digital currency – the eNaira – which was officially unveiled on Monday has received overwhelming interest and encouraging response from within and outside Nigeria with 33 banks fully integrated on the platform, according to Governor Godwin Emefiele.
Five hundred million has been successfully minted by the CBN, with N200 million issued to financial institutions, Emefiele said at the landmark launch by President Buhari in Abuja. Also, Over 2,000 customers have been onboarded, and more than 120 merchants have successfully registered on the eNaira platform.
Meanwhile, the eNaira website has seen over 2.5 million daily visits since its opening. With the unveiling, the customers who download the eNaira Speed Wallet App will be able to perform the onboard and create their wallet, find their eNaira wallet from their bank account, transfer eNaira from their wallet to another wallet, as well as make payment for purchases at registered merchant locations.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) believes that the eNaira will make a significant positive difference to Nigeria and Nigerians, in terms of supporting a resilient payment system ecosystem, and encouraging rapid financial inclusion as well. The eNaira will also reduce the cost of processing cash enable direct and transparent welfare intervention to citizens, increase revenue and tax collection, facilitate diaspora remittances and reduce the cost of financial transactions, and improve the efficiency of payments
Reeling out these benefits during the landmark launch in Abuja, Governor Godwin Emefiele said that Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is the first in Africa and a digital equivalent of the physical Naira. “As the tagline simply encapsulates, the eNaira is the same Naira with far more possibilities,” Emefiele stated, assuring strongly that the new payment system is one of the most robust globally, adequately protected and as such “nothing to fear.”
With growing interest in Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) around the World, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) commenced extensive study, consultations, identification of use cases and the testing of the CBDC concept in a Sandbox environment in 2017. The objective of the research was to establish a compelling case for the adoption of a digital currency in Nigeria to enable a more prosperous and inclusive economy for all Nigerians.
Following the completion of the preliminary work, the researchers and experts at the CBN were able to clearly establish that a digital currency will drive a more cashless, inclusive, and digital economy and will complement the gains of previous policy measures and our fast-growing payments platforms.
As such, the CBN decided to implement its own CBDC and name it the eNaira. Like the physical Naira – eNaira is a legal tender in Nigeria and a liability of the CBN, which will have the same value and always be exchanged at 1 naira to 1 eNaira. To de-risk the process, the CBN has given careful consideration to the entire payments and financial architecture and has designed the eNaira to complement and strengthen these ecosystems and have implemented security safeguards and policies to maintain the integrity of the financial system.
Specifically, there will be strict adherence to the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) standards in order to preserve the integrity and stability of Nigeria’s payment system, Emefiele said. As with most digital revolutions, the eNaira is a journey and that Nigerians should expect additional functionalities in the coming months. Those, he said include Accessibility and onboarding of customers without BVN, and the use of the eNaria on the phone without the internet will further drive financial inclusion. He said with this, Nigeria will become one of the first countries in the world to deploy the CBDC via USSD on phones without relying on internet connectivity.