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Nigeria’s Central Bank Taps Bitt to Launch CBDC by Year’s End

The bank is working with the blockchain startup to develop an eNaira digital currency.

Aug 30, 2021 at 8:17 p.m. UTC
Updated Aug 30, 2021 at 9:10 p.m. UTC

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said Monday it will work with Bitt Inc., a blockchain and payments startup, to launch the African nation’s eNaira digital currency later this year.

The central bank digital currency (CBDC) will ease cross-border trade, promote financial inclusion and speed up remittances, the central bank said. It also signaled in a press release that the CBDC could be used to improve monetary policy in the inflation-prone country.

“Given the significant explosion in the use of digital payments and the rise in the digital economy, the CBN’s decision follows an unmistakable global trend in which over 85% of central banks are now considering adopting digital currencies,” the CBN said in a statement.

Nigeria typically tops the list in peer-to-peer bitcoin payments, according to data site UsefulTulips.

Nigeria’s partner, Barbados-based Bitt, is a Medici Ventures-backed company with a history of CBDC contracts. But Bitt’s dealmaking was limited to central banks in its native Caribbean. Nigeria, which is Africa’s largest economy, is an entirely different challenge.

Bitt did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Danny is a business reporter at CoinDesk.

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