The e-Naira Speed Wallet App Has Had ₦4 Billion Worth Of Transactions And Now Has 200,000 Users Since It Launched In 2021 – CBN

President Muhammadu Buhari and CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele unveiling the e-Naira

According to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele the e-Naira speed wallet app has recorded 200,000 users and ₦4 billion worth of transactions since it launched in October last year. This was disclosed by the apex bank’s governor while speaking at the grand finale of the “e-Naira Hackathon.”

The e-Naira Hackathon is a project born out of the collaboration between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the African Fintech Foundry (AFF). The aim is to bring together African entrepreneurs, developers, designers, problem solvers, critical thinkers, and enthusiasts, to help raise adoption of the Nigeria’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) – the e-Naira.

While speaking at the event, the CBN governor said that “Since its inauguration, e-Naira has reached 840,000 downloads, with about 270,000 active wallets comprising more than 252,000 consumer wallets and 17,000 merchant wallets. In addition, volume and value of transactions have been remarkable reaching above 200,000 and 4 billion naira respectively.”

There have been several debates and worries about the usefulness of the e-Naira and the CBN governor addressed this while speaking at the event. “The eNaira will make a significant positive difference to Nigeria and Nigerians. It was also developed to provide Nigerians with a cheap, safe, and trusted means of payment. It is unlike offline payments channels like agent networks, USSD, wearables, cards, and near-field communication technology. The eNaira would give access to financial services to underserved and unbanked segments of the population,” he said.

Thanks to digitalization and technology, digital currencies are catching on, and governments do not want to be left out hence central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Governor Godwin Emefiele spoke on how e-Naira-based products and services could help increase the interest of Nigerians, scale adoption, and help expand the country’s budding fintech sector. “To achieve these set-out objectives, the project adopted a phased approach with the first phase focusing on banked users, while the policy objective of the second phase borders around financial inclusion. In addition, the e-Naira platform possesses an innovation layer for products and services to be built with the aim of enhancing Nigerians’ participation in the digital economy,” he said.

He also mentioned that the project’s second stage has begun and that the aim is to promote financial inclusion by covering unbanked customers via offline channels.  “Greater success is envisioned for the project with phase two expected to deliver more gains with a target of about eight million active users based on estimations using the diffusion of innovation model. When we launched the e-Naira, we promised to increase the level of financial inclusion in the Country because just like the Naira, the e-Naira is expected to be accessible to all Nigerians. I am pleased to inform you that by next week, Nigerians, both banked and unbanked, will be able to open an e-Naira wallet and conduct transactions by simply dialing *997# from their phones”.

Since it launched, the e-Naira has set some impressive milestones. While the number of downloads continues to grow, the e-Naira was ranked by PwC as the number one global retail CBDC. The International Monetary Fund, however, warns of its potential use for money laundering and terrorism funding but these are some of the challenges that the central bank also took into consideration before the launch of the e-Naira. The IMF emphasized the need for continued vigilance, cyber security, and the implementation of useful and timely policies.

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