In July, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that it will introduce the country’s official digital currency. More than a month later, the apex bank has released an update on the e-Naira. The CBN recently sent a presentation to Nigerian banks about the e-Naira project, revealing more details about its design and operational module. The presentation described how the new currency would be designed and operated.
In fact, the report states that the e-Naira is a legal tender for the entire country. The report also mentions that it will have non-interest-bearing CBDC status, a transaction limit for customers, and a value-based transaction limit.
- Monetary Authority Suite; The Central Bank will be handing the first product component that includes issue, distribute, redeem and destroy the currency. Store data on a cloud server, monitor and analyses currency transactions.
- Financial Institution Suite; licensed financial institution will be able to request currency or issue stable coins, manage digital currency across branches, KYC, identify and AML compliance capability.
- eGovernment Suite; the government will be able to efficiently process digital payments sent to and received from citizens and businesses.
- Merchants will provide low-cost payment and business management software, POS, remote payment solutions, online capabilities, transaction analysis, and reconciliation.
- Retail Consumer Suite; features user-centered designs for a great user experience. The architecture will be expandable to enable innovation; features advanced privacy and security.
Consequently, the proposed transaction cost for the e-Naira wallet was also outlined by the Nigerian Central Bank.
The digital currency infrastructure does not charge for user-to-merchant transactions and P2P wallet transactions. It shall be the responsibility of Nigerian banks to promote and market the centrally issued digital currency as a cash alternative to existing and potential customers in support of the Nigerian apex bank’s goal for financial inclusion.
The tier 1 wallet can be used by individuals who do not own bank accounts. Its daily transfer limit will be set at ₦50,000, and a cumulative balance of ₦300,000. However, users must have the National Identity Number to be able to open an account.
The tier 2 wallet will require users to link an existing bank account (backed up with the Bank Verification Number) to the wallet. Without doing this, one cannot own a tier 2 wallet. Here, the daily transfer limit will be set at ₦200,000 while the maximum balance will be ₦500,000.
Tier 3 wallet users will have a daily transfer limit of ₦1,000,000 and a total balance of ₦5,000,000. Users must link a BVN-backed bank account to their wallet.
In order to catalyse the adoption of the e-naira, banks will facilitate onboarding and provide world-class customer service. Nigerian banks will be allowed to invite all their customers to register for the e-Naira. Besides pre-generated codes, the banks can send invitation codes for onboarding to a specific list of selected customers. Onboarding will be done for customers who have a code assigned by their banks. The banks have already validated and verified these customers.
Moreover, the Central Bank stated the wallet provided by its institution was merely a stop-gap measure for meeting the deadline, given that banks and other licensed operators may provide their own wallets since it didn’t intend to compete against the banks.
As part of the digital currency initiative, Nigeria’s central bank has made clear that NIBSS and other switching platforms will still be relevant, existing infrastructure can be integrated and leveraged in the e-Naira implementation. As a National Critical Infrastructure, the e-naira system will be subject to comprehensive security checks, all data and personally identifiable information (PII) will be kept off the ledger and will not be stored on the ledger.