Nigeria has been trying to get more citizens to adopt its national digital currency called eNaira since it was introduced last year under the slogan ‘Same Naira, More Possibilities'. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is reportedly looking to allow people to use the eNaira for day-to-day payments such as booking flight tickets and paying utility bills. The aim is to popularise the use of the Nigerian Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) among more people.
The CBN is considering an update to its CBDC next week, making it suitable for daily payments in the country, a report by Nigerian publication Vanguard said on May 9.
Nigeria's apex bank has partnered with mobile banking firm called Bizi Mobile to facilitate user payments via its CBDC.
“Starting from next week, there is going to be an upgrade on the eNaira speed wallet app that will allow you to do transactions such as paying for DSTV or electric bills or even paying for flight tickets,” the Vanguard report quoted Bariboloka Koyor as saying. Koyor controls the Lagos branch of the CBN.
As per Koyor, the main difference between eNaira transactions and traditional online payment methods is the speed of processing transactions.
In addition, the CBN official also said that eNaira could help poverty-ridden Nigerians who will get compensations from the government via the CBDC.
“This is a project that the CBN has rolled out to reach out to every Nigerian in terms of financial inclusion and in terms of efficiency, reliability and safety of banking transactions so that we can do banking transactions very easily and safely and the people in Nigeria can enjoy the benefit of the eNaira,” Koyor added.
The government of Nigeria is urging people to become early adopters of the eNaira CBDC.
Nigeria is among other African nations such as Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa, to try cryptocurrencies in recent years.
The crypto market in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa together saw 1,200 percent growth, reaching a market valuation of $105.6 billion (roughly Rs. 775 crores) in one year, a report by Chainalysis claimed in September.
Inflation, is the main reason driving crypto adoption in these African regions.
The inflation rate in Nigeria rose to 12.8 percent in 2020 from 11.4 percent in 2019.
Despite the CBN ruling against legalising crypto-trading in the country, Nigerians have been experimenting with virtual assets.
Research firm Triple-A estimates that over 13 million Nigerians owned cryptocurrencies in 2021. That makes for 6.3 percent of Nigeria's total population.
While the CBN has kept an open mind about promoting its CBDC, it stays put on its decision to not give crypto trading a legal status in the nation.
CBDCs resemble cryptocurrencies in their structure by relying on blockchain networks to act as their underlaying technology.
Unlike the largely untraceable and independent crypto transactions however, CBDCs are issued and regulated by central banks.
India, Russia, and Jamaica, among others, have already begun work on their respective CBDCs.