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Nigeria’s central bank joins forces to roll out its own cryptocurrency

Photo of: Joseph Stone
by Joseph Stone

Yesterday, August 30, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the official engagement of global firm Bitt Inc. as the technical partner for its proposed digital currency, known as e-Naira. According to The Guardian, the head of the NCB, Godwin Emefile, announced that the project would be up and running by the end of this year.

According to a communication from the Nigerian government, the central bank has partnered with Bitt Inc. to develop its MNBC, after conducting a request for proposals. The company has experience in this area: based in Barbados, it has already conducted several digital currency projects for Caribbean central banks.

According to the Bank of Nigeria, the MNBC named “e-naira” will be introduced in 2021. This acceleration is voluntary and is intended to keep up with the global trend, according to the statement:

“Given the significant explosion in the use of digital means of payment, as well as the breakthrough of the digital economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision follows an unmistakable global trend: more than 85% of Central Banks are now considering the adoption of digital currencies.”

At the beginning of the year, it became clear that the process of digital currency creation should be accelerated. The digital currency was becoming more prevalent and young Nigerians were eager to invest in these new assets, even though financial institutions were banned from processing cryptocurrency-related transactions.

According to Godwin Emefile’s statement, the company was chosen through a competitive bidding process by virtue of its technological competence, efficiency, platform security, interoperability, and implementation experience. “In selecting Bitt Inc, NCB relied on the company’s proven experience with cryptocurrencies that are currently in circulation in several countries.”

Nigeria is regularly cited as one of the most crypto-friendly countries to adopt cryptocurrencies. A recent report by Chainalysis indicated that the country’s inhabitants were 6th in the ranking, after Kenya. This is further confirmed by another indicator: Nigeria represents the largest peer-to-peer exchange volume in sub-Saharan Africa.

This had worried the Central Bank of Nigeria, which had taken drastic measures against cryptocurrencies in early 2021. However, it retrograded in March and clarified its position. However, the government is counting on the sector: it confirmed at the end of 2020 that it wanted to generate $6 billion in revenue by 2030.