To date, Nigeria is the only African country to have launched its own digital currency, the eNaira, which its authorities hope would increase banking access, facilitate more remittances and even help grow the economy by billions of dollars.
During the launch, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said the platform had received “overwhelming interest and encouraging response,” adding that 33 banks, 2,000 customers, and 120 merchants had already successfully registered with the platform, which is accessible via an Apple and Android app.
The currency, according to President Muhammadu Buhari, could grow the economy by $29 billion over ten years, allowing direct government welfare payments, and even expanding the tax base.
Financial institutions have received 200 million nairas worth of eNaira, which would maintain stability with the old currency, according to Emefiele.
However, the Central Bank’s altering limits on accessing foreign money, as well as the naira’s dropping value on underground markets, contributed to Nigeria’s enthusiastic embrace of cryptocurrencies.
It was the Bahamas that pioneered the Sand Dollar as general-purpose digital money in October, and now Nigeria will follow suit. Switzerland and the Bank of France have confirmed Europe’s first cross-border experiment, while China is now conducting its own tests in this regard.