Since the ban of cryptocurrency in the country, the Central of Nigeria continues to make its stands on cryptocurrency widespread news. E-Naira, Nigeria’s imminent digital currency, is set to launch in October as earlier promised by the apex bank. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, disclosed this at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, Nigeria’s central bank sent a circular to commercial banks and financial institutions warning stakeholders to refrain from having any transactions in crypto or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges. The Central Bank of Nigeria gave strict orders to financial institutions to immediately shut down the accounts of individuals or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges. The CBN also promised dire penalties to financial institutions that refuse to comply with the directive.
Following the order against cryptocurrency, the Central Bank issued a statement claiming that platforms which facilitated the transaction and exchange of digital currencies were unregulated and unlicensed, and hence, illegal. The Central Bank of Nigeria also claimed that crypto assets have also been used to finance several illegal activities including money laundering and terrorism.
In the statement, the Central Bank of Nigeria said that the letter was only a reminder that cryptocurrencies were not legal tender in Nigeria and was only reiterating a position that the bank has held since 2017, not imposing new restrictions on the industry.
“It is important to clarify that the CBN circular of Feb. 5, 2021, did not place any new restrictions on cryptocurrencies, given that all banks in the country had earlier been forbidden, through CBN’s circular dated Jan. 12, 2017, not to use, hold, trade and/or transact in cryptocurrencies,” the statement said.
The action by the CBN sent shockwaves to many individuals who had hopes of making money from cryptocurrency, and Nigerians took to social media to express their anger. Nevertheless, Nigeria will be launching its digital currency. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has confirmed the launch of Nigeria’s digital currency (e-Naira) pilot program set to begin in October.
The Governor said that e-Naira was important to Nigeria’s economy, for cross-border trade facilitation, financial inclusion, monetary policy effectiveness, improved payment efficiency, revenue tax collection, remittance improvement, and targeted social intervention.
The e-Naira will be operated on the Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain. The blockchain network is an open-source platform built by the Linus foundation specifically for enterprise-grade applications.
While many Nigerians eagerly anticipate the opportunities that will come with the e-Naira, many others doubt if the pilot program will come to fruition.