Nigeria’s Central Bank To Partner with Bitt Inc to Launch Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) ‘eNaira’

The bank is working with the blockchain startup to develop an eNaira digital currency.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said Monday it will work with Bitt Inc., a blockchain and payments startup, to launch the African nation’s eNaira digital currency later this year.

Bitt is a Barbados-based startup that led the development of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s “DCash” — the first digital cash issued by a currency union central bank.

The central bank digital currency (CBDC) will ease cross-border trade, promote financial inclusion, and speed up remittances, the central bank said. It also signaled in a press release that the CBDC could be used to improve monetary policy in the inflation-prone country.

“Given the significant explosion in the use of digital payments and the rise in the digital economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision follows an unmistakable global trend in which over 85% of central banks are now considering adopting digital currencies”, the CBN said in a statement

Nigeria typically tops the list in peer-to-peer bitcoin (BTC, -1.08%) payments, according to the data site UsefulTulips.

Nigeria’s partner, Barbados-based Bitt, is a Medici Ventures-backed company with a history of CBDC contracts. But Bitt’s dealmaking was limited to central banks in its native Caribbean. Nigeria, which is Africa’s largest economy, is an entirely different challenge.

Bitt did not immediately respond to a request for comment.