The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is reportedly in talks with blockchain firm R3 to develop a new system for its digital currency, the eNaira, with the aim of keeping full control of the initiative.
eNaira, which is Nigeria's first digital version of its national currency, has been used to carry out transactions worth ₦4 billion (around $10 million), as of August 2022, since its launch in October 2021, according to the country's central bank governor.
However, the project has struggled to gain widespread acceptance across the country due to a lack of awareness and differentiation of features from banks and fintech companies. It is estimated that less than 0.5% of Nigerians use eNaira, despite more than 10% of the Nigerian population being exposed to crypto assets.
Many Nigerians are unaware of the differences between the digital representation of cash deposits in bank accounts and the eNaira in digital wallets due to a lack of awareness and limited knowledge of digital currency operations. Analysts say everything the eNaira can do, banks and other fintech startups are already doing, and even better.
While the CBN worked with Bitt Inc. to issue the eNaira, the company will not immediately be replaced by new partners. Bitt is reportedly developing additional features and enhancements for the eNaira system, but the central bank is also exploring new partnerships with R3, according to Bloomberg.