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JUST IN: CBN engages Caribbean-based firm as cryptocurrency technical partner

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has engaged a Caribbean-based digital asset exchange firm, Bitt, as a Technical Partner for its cryptocurrency, e-Naira, which is due to be unveiled before the end of Y2021 last quarter.

CBN said that Bitt was considered and picked among the numerous offers received considering the company’s proven digital currency experience which had earned it recognition in many Eastern Caribbean countries.

The apex bank stated that the Caribbean-based fintech company was key to the development and successful launch of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), barely four months ago.

This development was disclosed on Monday by the CBN Governor, Godwin  Emefiele, who listed the benefits of the digital currency to Nigeria’s economic development.

Emefiele noted that the benefits Nigeria would gain from the currency when launched, include increased cross-border trade, accelerated financial inclusion, cheaper and faster remittance inflows, easier targeted social interventions, as well as improvements in monetary policy effectiveness, payment systems efficiency, and tax collection.

The CBN governor, through a statement made available to newsmen by the Director, Corporate Communication, Osita Nwanisobi, further argued that Bitt’s selection was hinged on the company’s technological competence, efficiency, platform security, interoperability, and implementation experience.

Project Giant, as the Nigerian CBDC pilot is known, has been a long and thorough process for the CBN, with the Bank’s decision to digitize the Naira in 2017, following extensive research and explorations.

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 percent of Central Banks are now considering adopting digital currencies in their countries.

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