ABUJA, Aug 30 – Nigeria will work with Bitt Inc as a technical partner in its bid to launch its own cryptocurrency, the “eNaira”, the Central Bank said on Monday.
The Central Bank announced plans to launch its own digital currency later this year after Nigeria barred banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in cryptocurrencies in February. read more
Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele has said the eNaira would operate as a wallet against which customers can hold existing funds in their bank account. In a statement on Monday, Emefiele said the currency would accelerate financial inclusion and enable cheaper and faster remittance inflows.
Barbados-based Bitt earlier this year led development of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s “DCash”, the first digital cash issued by a currency union central bank.
Official digital currencies are more “risk-free” than private electronic payment systems as they are backed by the central bank. They also cut out the middle man, reducing the cost of transactions, and make e-payments possible for those without bank accounts.
The Caribbean firm had led its development. The pilot includes Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia.
Large central banks across the world are stepping up efforts to develop digital currencies to modernize financial systems, speed up payments and counter a possible threat from cryptocurrencies. read more
Still, efforts by major authorities are mostly at the drawing board, with the People’s Bank of China’s plans the most advanced. The U.S. Federal Reserve has said it is more important to get its approach right rather than leading the pack.
The Caribbean though has already broken ground: The Bahamas last year became the first country to launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) nationwide. read more
The DCash, a blockchain-based, digital version of the Eastern Caribbean dollar, pegged at EC$2.70 to US$1, is the first CBDC to go live in a currency union which could offer tips to other such blocs like the euro zone on how it could work in practice.