July 23, (THEWILL) – Nigeria Rolls Out Digital Currency On Independence Day
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed plans to launch the pilot scheme of its digital currency on October 1.
Earlier this year, CBN banned cryptocurrency transactions in the country and warned that cryptocurrencies pose the risk of loss of investments, money laundering, terrorism financing, illicit fund flows and other criminal activities.
However, in June, the apex bank announced plans to launch its own digital currency before the close of the year.
It said about 80 percent of central banks globally are currently exploring the possibility of issuing their central bank digital currency (CBDC) and Nigeria could not be left behind.
Presenting its digital currency initiative to stakeholders during a private webinar on Thursday, Mrs. Rakiya Mohammed, a CBN Director, Information Technology Department, said the apex bank will launch a pilot scheme of its own digital currency on October 1.
She disclosed that the CBN had been conducting research towards the launch of digital currencies since 2017; and may conduct a proof of concept before the end of this year.
According to her, the project called ‘GIANT’ will run on the hyper-ledger fabric blockchain, an open-source project for developing blockchain-based products, solutions, and applications used by private enterprises.
Mohammed explained that the CBN digital currency will promote macro management and growth, cross border trade facilitation, financial inclusion, monetary policy effectiveness, improved payment efficiency, revenue tax collection, remittance and targeted social intervention.
She added that the innovation would also benefit the fintech ecosystem by enhancing operational efficiency, opportunities for fintech start-ups in building services and products as well as financial inclusion that will contribute to economic growth, and the creation of a new system complimenting the traditional payment system.
If the pilot scheme is eventually launched, Nigeria will join other countries across the globe and Africa racing to develop it’s CBDC.
Some of these countries include South Africa (digital Rand), Tunisia (eDinar), Ghana (e-cedi), Sweden, Japan, South Korea, and Russia.
Meanwhile China (digital yuan), Bahamas (sand dollar), Eastern Caribbean (DCash) are among the few countries that have officially launched their own national digital currency.