After four years of development, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to roll out its digital currency project. The launch will reportedly happen on the occasion of the country’s 61st Independence Day celebration on Oct. 1.
Nigeria’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) project comes amid significant anti-crypto policies from the CBN and negative cryptocurrency sentiments from several government officials. The digital naira is also coming at a time when its fiat counterpart has plunged to new lows, with the central bank enacting even tighter forex restrictions.
Details of the eNaira project circulated across commercial banks in the country show plans for strict identity verification mandates for utilizing the digital currency. The CBN plans to introduce a tiered ID verification system with different transaction limits for each tranche.
With CBDCs seen as governments’ response to cryptos and privately-issued stablecoins across the globe, there are concerns that more anti-cryptocurrency laws may emerge in Nigeria. Indeed, China upscaled its crypto crackdown activities as soon as its digital currency project moved into the public testing arena.
Bitcoin (BTC) adoption in Nigeria continues to expand, as cryptocurrencies offer easier remittance vehicles especially for the country’s diaspora population in supporting relatives and loved ones back home. Crypto also offers a means for the upwardly mobile and tech-savvy younger population to shield their wealth from the rapid debasement of the naira.
CBN selects Bitt Inc
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the CBN selected Bitt Inc, a Barbados-based fintech outfit, as its technology partner for its CBDC project. According to the CBN, Bitt’s role in the development of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s DCash digital currency project played a significant role in its decision to select the company.
In a press release issued on Aug. 30, the CBN identified Bitt’s “technological competence, efficiency, platform security, interoperability, and implementation experience” as among the reasons why the Barbadian tech company was the best candidate for the job. Indeed, Bitt was among 15 companies evaluated by the central bank for the tech partner role in the eNaira project.
All 15 companies in the evaluation process were reportedly accessed based on criteria such as Anti-Money Laundering protocols, technological efficiency, adoption, systems security architecture, and CBDC implementation experience, among others. Cointelegraph’s findings show that Bitt emerged with an aggregate score of about 82%, which was the highest among the 15 contenders.
Bitt was also the only company to score about 80% and was among only two firms with relevant experience in live CBDC operations. This fact also reportedly played into the sandbox evaluation stage conducted by the evaluators under Nigeria’s Public Procurement Act.
The CBN will likely be looking to leverage Bitt’s experience in the national digital currency space as well as the company’s CBDC management protocols to establish its eNaira project. Bitt has reportedly licensed its Digital Currency Management System to the CBN for the eNaira CBDC project.
While launching DCash back in April, Bitt CEO Brian Popelka identified the baked-in interoperability protocols in the design of the Eastern Caribbean CBDC. These features may likely prove pivotal in the central bank’s efforts to foster easier remittance flows for Nigerians using the eNaira digital currency.
Proposed eNaira operations
While announcing Bitt as its technology partner for the eNaira project, the CBN highlighted the “unmistakable” global CBDC trend among central banks. Indeed, matters relating to sovereign digital currencies are now commonplace among central banks, with some countries already conducting pilot studies on CBDCs.
In late August, the CBN reportedly sent a 57-page sensitization document to commercial banks in the country detailing proposed operating models…
Read More: cointelegraph.com