Nigeria flag draped over a bitcoin cryptocurrency coin

eNaira hits $10M in transactions as Nigeria central bank targets 10-fold growth

Since the eNaira launched in October 2021, only $10 million has been transacted, equating to a tiny fraction of the digital asset trading volume over that time. 

Speaking during the eNaira Hackathon Grand Finale, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele revealed that digital currency hasn’t hit the ground running as projected. 

Since its launch, the eNaira digital wallet has been downloaded 840,000 times, with only about a third of these using the wallet actively. These users have made 200,000 transactions totaling 4 billion nairas ($9.7 million). This translates to about one transaction per active wallet, which proves that Nigerians aren’t using their digital wallets for day-to-day transactions.

Governor Emefiele believes that the progress is remarkable since the CBDC is a new product that the users are still learning about. However, for context, in the first two months of this year alone, Nigerians transacted $128 billion through Nigeria Instant Payment System (NIPS), an interbank account-to-account system that supports mobile and Internet banking.

Encouraged by the results so far, the central bank is marching onto the second phase with the eNaira, the governor revealed. In this phase, the focus will be on financial inclusion, and CBN will open the CBDC to those without a bank account. Currently, only those with a bank account can open an eNaira wallet. This has hindered adoption as only about 45% of Nigerian adults have a bank account.

The second phase is expected to drive up the adoption tenfold.

“…greater success is envisioned for the project, with phase 2 expected to deliver more gains with the target of about 8 million active users,” the governor stated.

In line with increasing access to digital currency, the central bank will now allow unbanked Nigerians to open an eNaira digital wallet through a USSD code. In addition, users can now integrate their CBDC wallets with the national digital payments system (NIPS).

As the eNaira struggles, Nigerians have continued to flock to the digital asset industry. The West African country has led the continent in trading volume and user numbers for years. One report revealed that over 33 million Nigerians had owned a digital asset at some point, rivaling the U.S. and Russia.

To learn more about central bank digital currencies and some of the design decisions that need to be considered when creating and launching it, read nChain’s CBDC playbook.

Watch: The BSV Global Blockchain Convention presentation, CBDCs and BSV

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