Nigeria, a country with one of the world’s highest cryptocurrency adoption rates, is moving ahead with its plan for a central bank digital currency pilot project called Project Giant. The Central Bank of Nigeria has selected Bitt Inc., a Barbados-based fintech startup, as its technical partner for the project, which is scheduled to launch on Oct. 1, the CBN announced on Monday.

Fast facts

  • According to a report by Nairametrics, the CBN recently sent a document to Nigerian banks that revealed details about its plans for its CBDC, eNaira. The document states that eNaira will be a legal tender in the country and have non-interest-bearing CBDC status with limits in customer and value-based transactions.
  • The CBN will be responsible for the first phase of the eNaira rollout, including issuance, distribution, redemption and destruction of the currency. The data will be stored on a cloud server, and monitored and analyzed by the central bank. In the second phase, licensed financial institutions will be able to request or issue stablecoins, while in the third phase the Nigerian government will be able to process digital payments to and from citizens and businesses.
  • The fourth and fifth stages of the pilot will involve merchants who are expected to provide low-cost payment and business management software and improve user interface and architecture.
  • According to another report, the CBN has selected Speed Wallet as the official wallet for eNaira. The wallet will not serve as a competitor to banks, but will enable eNaira payments until banks can come up with their own wallets.
  • According to the Nairametrics report, no charges will be levied for eNaira transactions from users to merchants and for peer-to-peer wallet transactions. The Nigerian banks will be responsible for promoting eNaira usage as a cash alternative.
  • Meanwhile, other African countries are picking up pace in CBDC development. Earlier this month, Ghana’s central bank announced a pilot project for its CBDC e-Cedi. Countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa, on the other hand, continue to explore the feasibility of central bank digital currencies through research and studies.