A digital version of Nigeria’s currency, the eNaira, will be unveiled on Monday. It came from a statement of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Sunday. Initial plans called for a launch in early October.
“President Muhammadu Buhari will officially unveil Nigeria’s digital currency, known as eNaira, at the Presidential Palace on Monday, October 25,” the statement said.
“The digital currency will be active on the same day”, indicated the statement.
Globally, central banks are developing digital versions of their currencies, known as CBDCs, in order to compete with cryptocurrencies that are not controlled by governments or global regulators.
eNaira will allow Nigerians to use their existing bank accounts to fund their mobile wallets.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy by GDP and most populous country (more than 200 million people), has become a pioneer on the continent. Ghana has been testing its e-Cedi as a new means of exchange since September.
Officially, the digital currency was to launch on October 1. However, the Central Bank postponed it in honor of the country’s independence anniversary.
According to the specialist research firm Statista, Nigeria ranks as the third largest user of virtual currencies in the world. The report ranked the country after the United States and Russia.
Cryptocurrencies have become popular among Nigerians due to the steady depreciation of the naira. Furthermore, they make it easier for them to receive money from the diaspora or to move their savings abroad.
In recent years, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been questioning the effects of the cryptocurrencies on its economy, arguing that their main uses were money laundering and terrorist financing activities.
Last year, China became the first major economy to test a digital currency. Since then, at least five countries have introduced virtual currencies, according to the Atlantic Council.