CBN May Launch Digital Currency Before The End Of The Year

FILE PHOTO: Central Bank of Nigeria’s logo is seen on the headquarters building in Abuja, Nigeria January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo – RC1E81C7FA80

Digital currency is the new eye candy and not only do individuals want to be a part of it, Governments are joining in too. Even though digital currency has faced huge criticisms from most Governments, there seem to be the few that recognize the potentials of digital currency and how it can take their economies to the next level.

The Central Bank of Nigeria announced on Thursday that it may be launching its digital currency before the year comes to a conclusion. This disclosure was made by Rakiya Mohammed, an Information Technology Specialist with the Central Bank of Nigeria, during an online news briefing at the end of the Bankers Committee meeting.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has been exploring the technology for the past two years, according to Rakiya Mohammed. She also mentioned that the apex bank has made significant progress in that aspect. “Before the end of the year, the Central Bank will be making special announcements and possibly launching a pilot scheme in order to be able to provide this kind of currency to the populace”, she said.

The topic of introducing a digital currency in Nigeria was first mentioned last month, by the apex bank’s Governor who is rather a skeptic of digital currency. “We have carried out our investigation and we have found out that a substantial percentage of our people are getting involved in cryptocurrency which is not the best. Don’t get me wrong, some may be legitimate but most are illegitimate. Under cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, Nigeria comes 2nd while in the global side of the economy, Nigeria comes 27th. We are still conducting our investigation and we will make our data available”, he said.

Talking about his concerns about the volatility of digital currency, the CBN Governor said that “We saw the market collapse. Initially when Elon Musk tweeted around the time when we said our banking and payment facilities are no longer available for cryptocurrency transactions and he tweeted that he will invest $1.5 billion and the price (Bitcoin) went up. He now tweeted and raised a few concerns and the thing (cryptocurrency) plunged”. The recent announcement that Nigeria may launch its indigenous cryptocurrency comes on the heels of the crypto ban that happened about six months ago.

When eventually issued and operational, Nigeria’s digital currency would complement cash notes, Rakiya Mohammed said.

The Information Technology Specialist mentioned that the CBN was working on issuing a digital currency as it plans on making remittances travel from other countries to Nigeria safe and easy to do. She emphasized that having a digital currency would accelerate the ability to meet the target irrespective of where people are based.

The CBN would also be exploring every technology option it gets its hands on and would be engaging industry players as it plans on moving on with its plans of issuing a digital currency, Rakiya Mohammed said.

The Information Technology Specialist did not fail to emphasize that although the CBN plans on issuing its digital currency by the end of the year, it has considered the architecture, accessibility challenges and privacy of the currency and will continue to review these factors as it takes every step towards achieving these plans.

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