Nigeria’s apex bank today launched Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the eNaira. The digital currency was officially launched by today by President Muhammadu Buhari. The launch of the eNaira took place earlier today at the State House in Abuja. The highly anticipated digital currency was initially scheduled for launch on Nigeria’s Independence Day on October 1st but was postponed for undisclosed reasons. The “eNaira is a Central Bank of Nigeria-issued digital initiative which provides a unique and different form of money denominated in Naira. The eNaira will serve as a medium of exchange and also store value. It is aimed that it will offer better payment prospects in retail transactions when compared to cash payments.
Fintech Company Bitt has been said to be responsible for developing the eNaira. Reports say the fintech company has been responsible for the creation of CBDC in some East Caribbean countries of the world. Nigeria is said to be one of the very few countries in the world that has an official digital currency. The digital currency is projected to have an exclusive operational structure that is both remarkable and nothing like other forms of central bank money. The eNaira was minted to meet these pressing needs of organizations and individuals looking to seek faster, safer, easier, and cheaper means of payment.
At the launch today, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria – Godwin Emefiele disclosed that about 500 million eNaira ($1.21 million) have been minted in preparation for the launch. He also disclosed that the CBDC’s digital currency app and its merchant wallet are now live and available for download. Various wallets were created in other to drive usage of the eNaira, these include the eNaira speed wallet and eNaira merchant wallet, both available on respective App stores. The apex bank of Nigeria has also disclosed that all transactions conducted on the newly launched digital currency platform, eNaira will be free for 90 days, after which the guidelines will be reverted as applicable charges by banks and other financial and non-financial institutions will apply. You can find out more on the official ‘eNaira Circular and Guidelines’ released by the apex bank today.
According to notice on the eNaira website, sign-up on the eNaira speed wallet will require the input of details as exactly captured during BVN enrollment, First Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, State of Origin, and Email. It added that Banks have been directed to assist customers in validating and updating BVN details in other to ensure a seamless enrolment on the eNaira Platform. The apex has also advised that phone numbers without verified NIN (Tier 0) will only have a daily transaction limit of N20,000, while the maximum such account can hold is N120,000. For phone numbers with verified NIN or Tier 1, CBN said they have a daily transaction cap of N50, 000 and a maximum balance of N300, 000. Tier 2 accounts can access the daily transactions of N200, 000 only, while the maximum balance will be N500, 000. Tier 3 account holders have a transaction limit of N1m daily, and a Maximum balance of N5m. However, the CBN noted that merchant accounts can have access to unlimited transactions. According to the Bank, merchants account holders are accredited individuals and non-individual (corporates) authorized to conduct business in Nigeria.
The apex bank has also disclosed that it will make efforts to put signage and decals at designated merchant locations in other for customers to identify shops or stores that can accept eNaira. According to the website, it explains that eNaira is quite different from the money in your bank account, eNaira is the digital form of cash and is a direct liability on the Central Bank of Nigeria while the customer deposits are direct liabilities on the financial institutions. For those seeking more clarity on the eNaira, please refer to the FAQs section on the website.