The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the formal engagement of a global fintech company, Bitt Inc., as the technical partner for its digital currency, named eNaira, which is due to be unveiled in October this year.
According to a disclosure issued by the apex bank and signed by its Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, as seen by naijabusiness.com.ng
Affirming this development, the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, seized the opportunity to highlight some of the benefits of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). In his opinion, the benefits include; increased cross-border trade, accelerated financial inclusion, cheaper and faster remittance inflows, easier targeted social interventions, as well as improvements in monetary policy effectiveness, payment systems efficiency, and tax collection.
Rationalizing the need for digitizing the local currency, Emefiele hinged this on the significant explosion in the use of digital payments and the rise in the digital economy globally. He added that over 85 percent of Central Banks are now considering adopting digital currencies in their countries.
On why the CBN opted for Bitt Inc., Meffy as he is fondly called explained that a lot of factors were considered before selecting the firm. He added that the company’s technological competence, efficiency, platform security, interoperability, and implementation experience were the major selling points. He also stated that just like every other government decision, the selection was subjected to a high degree of competition and scrutiny.
Commenting on this, Meffy said: ‘’In choosing Bitt Inc, the CBN will rely on the company’s tested and proven digital currency experience, which is already in circulation in several Eastern Caribbean Countries. 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.’’
Recall that the Nigerian CBDC pilot also known as Project Giant, 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.
The apex bank had earlier given an October timeframe for the implementation of the digital currency initiative. Just recently, the CBN drafted a guideline for the implementation of the initiative and sent to various deposit money banks (DMBs) nationwide. Among key resolutions, it set a daily limit of about N50,000 for non-account holders.