A Nigerian federal court has given the country’s central bank the nod to go ahead with its plans to launch its digital currency. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had been sued by a local fintech firm for trademark infringement over the use of ‘eNaira,’ but the court has sided with the bank.
Nigeria has been working to launch the eNaira for five years now as it seeks to lead the central bank digital currency (CBDC) race in Africa. As CoinGeek reported, it launched the official website (eNaira.com) a week ago.
However, the CBDC journey for Nigeria’s central bank hasn’t been without its struggles. The latest was in the form of a cease-and-desist sent to the CBN over its use of ‘eNaira.’
According to a report by the Voice of Nigeria, ENaira Payment Solutions Limited sued the apex bank in Abuja for the trademark name. The company claimed that the launch of the eNaira was a threat to its business and showed ‘willful infringement of its trademark.’
The CBN, on its part, argued that the CBDC was far too important to the nation to be derailed by the company for trademark infringement.
Judge Taiwo Abayomi Taiwo has sided with the bank, the outlet reports. He ruled that the unveiling of the eNaira should proceed for national interest and because the central bank would most likely adequately compensate the company for the infringement. However, the judge didn’t dismiss the lawsuit and set October 11 as the hearing date.
The eNaira was slated to launch on October 1 to coincide with the country’s Independence Day celebrations. However, CBN Director of Communication, Osita Nwanisobi released a statement revealing that it had postponed the launch “due to other key activities lined up to commemorate the country’s 61st Independence Anniversary.”
The bank sought to reassure citizens, stating that it was working with its partners round the clock to launch it as soon as possible. It didn’t, however, commit to any launch date.
The eNaira website was also down for hours over the weekend, but it has since then come back online.
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.
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