Nigeria upgrades CBDC as crypto restrictions cripple fintech industry

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is moving ahead with plans to upgrade the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) to be used on a wider range of goods and services. It is also maintaining harsh crypto restrictions that cripple the country’s fintech sector.

The CBN branch controller Bariboloka Koyor spoke at a campaign aiming to “sensitize” businesses to the eNaira at a market in the country’s most populous city of Lagos on Monday, according to a report from Vanguard. Koyor stated:

“Starting from next week, there is going to be an upgrade on the eNaira speed wallet app that will allow you to do transactions such as paying for DSTV or electric bills or even paying for flight tickets.”

Koyor said the upgrade was launched to make onboarding easier, touting its wallet that had no charges and was faster than internet banking. He added that in the future, the eNaira will be the only way to receive financial assistance from the government, stressing the advantages of early adoption:

“This is a project that the CBN has rolled out to reach every Nigerian in terms of financial inclusion and in terms of efficiency, reliability, and safety of banking transactions so that we can do banking transactions very easily and safely and the people in Nigeria can enjoy the benefit of the eNaira.”

The value of the naira has fallen by over 209% in the past six years, which has pushed Nigerians to adopt crypto in droves. An April report from the KuCoin crypto exchange highlighted that around 33.4 million Nigerians owned or traded cryptocurrencies in the last six months.

Restrictions on crypto trading in the country tightened after the launch of the eNaira in October 2021. The CBN banned banks from servicing crypto exchanges in February of the same year, but real enforcement happened in November 2021, when the CBN ordered the accounts of two crypto traders to be frozen.

This crackdown led commercial banks in the country to track their customer’s accounts, looking for…

Read more at cointelegraph.com

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