President Muhammadu Buhari will unveil the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), known as the eNaira, today at the State House, Abuja.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had in February barred banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in cryptocurrencies, warning of “severe regulatory sanctions” and freezing accounts of firms it said are using them.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele has said the eNaira would operate as a wallet against which customers could hold funds in their bank account.
“The eNaira, therefore, marks a major step forward in the evolution of money and the CBN is committed to ensuring that the eNaira, like the physical Naira, is accessible by everyone,” the bank said in a statement.
According to experts, Nigerians were turning to crypto for business, to protect their savings as the naira loses value, and to send payments abroad because it is often hard to obtain United States’ dollars.
In March, just after the Central Bank ban, the dollar volume of cryptocurrencies sent from Nigeria rose to $132 million, up 17 per cent from the previous month, research firm Chainalysis said. Transactions in June were 25 per cent above the same month last year.
Nigeria has named Barbados-based Bitt Inc as a technical partner in developing the eNaira.