The eNaira, Nigeria’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), is expected to enter the second part of its expansion through new technology to increase its user base, Godwin Emefiele, governor, Nigerian central bank, stated at the 2022 eNaira Hackathon in Abuja, as reported by Cointelegraph. The eNaira, Africa’s first CBDC, was unveiled in October of 2021. “We don’t have a choice but to live with the fact that we are now in a digital economy, in a digital space, where the user[s] of cash will dissipate almost to zero,” Emefiele said.
According to Cointelegraph, second phase of the project has started and is aimed to drive the initiative of financial inclusion through the onboarding of unbanked users with a target of close to eight million active users. Reportedly, the CBDC has been at the receiving end of close to 840,000 downloads, with about 270,000 active wallets, including 252,000 consumer wallets. 200,000 transactions worth four billion nairas (about $9.5 million at the current exchange rate) have taken place till now.
On the basis of information by Cointelegraph, the central bank will be unveiling unstructured supplementary service data (USSD), to allow users create eNaira wallets through a four-digit code on their mobile phones, whether or not they have back accounts. After that step, users with bank accounts will be able to use the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIPS) instant payment system to make transfers between bank accounts. eNaira has applications to allow users pay for utilities and other services.
Moreover, Cointelegraph noted that eNaira Hackathon platform will be based onto the eNaira platform to give it an extended functionality. The organisation and the central bank will be co-sponsors of the hackathon, which was entered by 4,667 startups. Out of the group, ten received prizes worth one million to five million nairas.
(With insights from Cointelegraph)