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CBN to introduce digital currency for Nigeria

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Emefiele Godwin

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is finalising plans to roll out its own digital currency before the end of the year.

This was disclosed by CBN Director, Information Technology, Rukiyat Mohammed, at a virtual media briefing at the end of a Bankers Committee meeting on Thursday.

According to him, CBN has been exploring the technology for over two years and has made tremendous progress.

She also stated that the digital currency will help make remittances travel easier from abroad to Nigeria.

“The digital currency would also accelerate plans to reduce cost of transaction and cash management in the country, and help in a way to regulate the virtual currency space in the country,” she added

The CBN director further noted that the apex bank would be exploring various technological options and engaging various industry players, and moving to the next stage of proof of concept to pilot the scheme.

“The digital currency would be accessible to all Nigerians. Just like everybody has access to cash, everybody will have access to the central bank’s digital currency. Let me state categorically that cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and the rest of them are not under the control of the central bank; they are purely private decisions that individuals make.

“The CBN has considered the architecture, accessibility issue and privacy of the currency before embarking on the venture.”

“We have spent over two years studying this concept of central bank’s digital currency and we have identified the risks. And it is one of the reasons why I said we are setting up a central governance structure that would involve all industry stakeholders to access all the risks as we continue on this journey.

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“Very soon we would make an announcement on the date for the launch and by the end of the year we should have the digital currency,” she said

At last month’s Monetary Policy Rate meeting, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele had assured Nigerians that digital currencies will have a place in the country.

Emefiele was quoted to have said, “We are committed in the CBN and I can assure everybody that digital currency will come to life even in Nigeria.”

“We have carried out our investigation and we 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 added

Ripples Nigeria reported on Thursday that El Salvador, a country in Central America, has officially recognised Bitcoin as a form of legal tender.

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