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Nigeria’s eNaira mobile app sees 500,000 downloads weeks after launch

Close to half a million Nigerians have downloaded the eNaira mobile wallet app since its debut, the country’s central bank has revealed. A spokesperson for the bank further announced that over 78,000 merchants worldwide have enrolled for payments in the merchant’s wallet.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been working on its eNaira for the past five years, and towards the end of October, it finally launched. Despite a few glitches at launch, which forced the bank to take the wallet off the app stores, it has managed to attract close to 500,000 Nigerians.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Osita Nwanisobi, spokesperson for the Abuja-based bank, revealed that the app has been downloaded 488,000 times. In addition, 78,000 merchants from 160 countries had signed up for the wallet.

Nwanisobi further revealed that the wallet users had transacted 62 million nairas ($150,000) since the app was introduced. 

“We have also recorded almost 17,000 transactions amounting to over N62million with the average transaction being about $9.3 each. These numbers suggest the adoption rate has been excellent. It is a direct liability of the bank, a legal tender and will form part of the currency-in-circulation and will be at par with the physical naira,” Nwanisobi stated.

As CoinGeek reported, the eNaira launched on October 25 after a few delays. Once its mobile wallet app hit the market, it received about 200,000 downloads in a day. However, the app would later be taken down, with some suggesting it was due to its users’ poor reviews on the app stores.

CBN later clarified that it took the app down to make some improvements, and shortly after, the app was online once again.

The eNaira is Africa’s first central bank digital currency (CBDC) and among the few fully operational worldwide. As such, the entire continent is closely monitoring what happens with the eNaira to assess whether a CBDC is viable in their own countries. Some countries like Ghana are already at advanced levels in developing their CBDCs and could launch them in the near future.

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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