Central Bank of Nigeria partners fintech Bitt Inc to launch its own digital currency

NIGERIAThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that it will partner with Bitt Inc. as a technical partner in its bid to launch its own digital currency, the eNaira.

The apex bank made this known during the formal engagement of Bitt Inc., a global fintech company, as the technical partner for its digital currency, eNaira.

Bitt Inc. is a Barbados-based startup that led the development of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s DCash, the first digital cash issued by a currency union central bank.

The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, made the announcement in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Osita Nwanisobi in Abuja.

According to Emefiele, the benefits of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) include increased cross-border trade, accelerated financial inclusion, cheaper, and faster remittances.

Others are easier targeted social interventions, as well as improvements in monetary policy effectiveness, payment systems efficiency, and tax collection. In July, the apex bank said it will launch the pilot scheme of eNaira by October 1, 2021.

CBN’s spokesperson, Osita Nwanisobi in the statement, explained that the 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 will rely on the company’s tested and proven digital currency experience, which is already in circulation in several Eastern Caribbean Countries,” part of the statement read.

“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 202I.”

According to the spokesperson, the apex bank’s decision to digitise the naira in 2017, Project Giant, as the Nigerian CBDC pilot is known, has been a long and thorough process for the CBN.

Nwanisobi added that 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.

He noted the global adoption of digital currencies to the significant explosion in digital payments and the rise in the digital economy. Earlier this year, the apex bank directed banks to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions.

CBN cautioned that cryptocurrencies pose the risk of loss of investments, terrorism financing, money laundering, illicit fund flows, and other criminal activities.

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