In Nigeria, the eNaira — the country’s newly launched central bank digital currency (CBDC) — has already seen nearly 600,000 downloads, according to local media Nairametrics citing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
- The local media reported Saturday that the CBN governor has revealed the country’s total digital transactions rose by more than 153% between 2018 and 2020.
- This represented a quick surge in downloads since the digital currency was only launched on Oct. 25 by President Muhammadu Buhari. Just two weeks ago, the country said the number of downloads reached 488,000 times.
- The eNaira is expected to be rolled out in three phases. In the first phase, the central bank is responsible for the eNaira rollout which includes issuance, distribution, redemption and destruction of the currency.
- “Given that the eNaira is a journey, the unveiling marks the first step in that journey, which will continue with a series of further modifications, capabilities and enhancements to the platforms,” Osita Nwanisobi, CBN director of corporate communications, said in a statement in October.
- In August, the CBN partnered with Barbados-based fintech startup Bitt Inc. as technical partner for the CBDC project.
- Other African countries are also piloting their CBDCs. Ghana, for example, in October was looking for a solution to enable its retail CBDC e-Cedi to trade offline. In June, West African country Tunisia cooperated with France to launch the fifth wholesale CBDC pilot for inter-bank transactions without the SWIFT system between the two countries. In February, South Africa started the second phase pilot of wholesale CBDC Khokha for inter-bank transactions.
- Meanwhile in Asia, China’s e-CNY development is picking up steam as many expect the digital currency to be formally launched in time for the Beijing Winter Olympics next February.
- Mu Changchun, director-general of the PBOC’s digital currency institute, said earlier this month at Hong Kong Fintech Week that as of October, about 140 million individuals have opened their wallets, and 10 million corporate wallets have been created. Meanwhile, the e-CNY transaction value amounted to 62 billion yuan (US$9.7 billion), and 1.55 million merchants now accept e-CNY payment, including utilities, catering services, transportation, shopping and government services, Mu added.
Lachlan Keller contributed to this report.