The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday announced the formal engagement of the global Fintech company, Bitt Inc., as the Technical Partner for its digital currency, named e-Naira.
The digital currency, according to the CBN would be unveiled before the end of this year.
This development was disclosed in Abuja by the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who listed the benefits of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to include increased cross-border trade, accelerated financial inclusion, cheaper and faster remittance inflows, and easier targeted social interventions.
The currency will also ensure improvements in monetary policy effectiveness, payment systems efficiency, and tax collection.
Project Giant, as the Nigerian CBDC pilot is known, has been a long and thorough process for the CBN, with the Bank’s decision to digitize the Naira in 2017, following extensive research and explorations.
Given the significant explosion in the use of digital payments and the rise in the digital economy, the CBN’s decision follows an unmistakable global trend in which over 85 percent of Central Banks are now considering adopting digital currencies in their countries.
The CBN’s selection of Bitt Inc, from among highly competitive bidders, was hinged on the company’s technological competence, efficiency, platform security, interoperability, and implementation experience.
In choosing Bitt Inc, the CBN said it relied on the company’s tested and proven digital currency experience, which is already in circulation in several Eastern Caribbean Countries.
The apex bank stated that Bitt Inc. was key to the development and successful launch of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in April 2021.
The apex bank had on July 22 during a private webinar with stakeholders outlined a digital currency initiative.
It said about 80 percent of central banks globally are currently exploring the possibility of issuing their central bank digital currency (CBDC) and Nigeria could not be left behind
If the pilot scheme is eventually launched, Nigeria will join other countries across the globe and Africa racing to develop it’s CBDC.
Some of these countries include South Africa (digital Rand), Tunisia (eDinar), Ghana (e-cedi), Sweden, Japan, South Korea, and Russia.
Meanwhile China (digital yuan), Bahamas (sand dollar), Eastern Caribbean (DCash) are among the few countries that have officially launched their own national digital currency.