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Crypto experts to CBN: Collaborate with fintechs to boost eNaira adoption

Crypto experts to CBN: Collaborate with fintechs to boost eNaira adoption
October 04
20:12 2023

Stakeholders have advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to collaborate with fintech companies to aid the adoption of eNaira. 

The eNaira, a central bank digital currency (CBDC), is an innovation of Nigeria’s apex bank.

In May 2023, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said 98.5 percent of eNaira wallets have never been used.

Speaking during a panel session at the Technext Coinference 3.0, Etienne Okeke, chief executive officer (CEO) of BitBarter, said even though the adoption of the digital currency is minimal at the retail side of the market, usage at the wholesale section is thriving.

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He said the eNaira comes with certain characteristics and the CBN is still trying to harness the benefits of those features.

“In as much as we’re not using the eNaira on the retail side, it doesn’t mean that people are not using it. Most of the users currently now are wholesalers, big merchants, people who move boullion money,” Okeke said.

“So the numbers you see all the time, I guess they are right, because those numbers can be moved by very few people.

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“But when you see World Bank complaining about the eNaira wallet not being activated, they might be right because the retail side is not really sure.”

Okeke said Nigerians do not really “flow that much with the naira”, and people would “prefer foreign currencies”.

He said this notion affects the adoption of the eNaira, urging the apex bank to brainstorm on use cases for the CBDC.

The BitBarter CEO added that the CBN should also consider collaborating with fintech companies.

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“We are doing a lot of very interesting things. Is there a way that we could create some use cases and they can support us to adopt it? I am very happy that people like NCC, CIBAN are pushing through it,” Okeke said.

“There’s a lot of OGs in this space that are looking at how reform is going to happen.

“Then the conversation around eNaira adoption and also into fintech companies being a gateway for that eNaira to be adopted is something that is lacking. And I think maybe the government can look at that.”

‘AFRICA TAKING BABY STEPS IN ADOPTION OF CYRPOTO’

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On her part, Ogochukwu Umeokafor, director of product management at Yellowcard, said the continent is taking “baby steps” to digitise the entire Africa.

“You know, the way we operate in Africa, everybody wants their money at hand. It is like I want to see my money; I want to see my money I want to see it in naira or cedis or whatever currency it is. So I think that one of the ways you can solve it is still futuristic,” she said.

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“It’s not going to be the next five years to be honest, but I see it coming soon.

She projected that in the next 10 years, cyrpotocurrencies will gain a lot more traction because “I’ve seen more people than not getting into the crypto space to educate people”.

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