Report: Nigerian Central Bank Targets Tenfold Increase in Number of CBDC Users, Governor Says Use of Cash Will ‘Dissipate to Zero’

Despite the apparent slow embrace of the e-naira digital currency by Nigerians, the Central Bank of Nigeria governor has said his institution is targeting a tenfold increase in the number of users of the digital currency in the next twelve months. The governor predicted that the use of cash will “dissipate to zero” while the “use of digital currency will increase to become part of our lives.”

E-Naira to Become Available to All Nigerians

Some ten months after its launch, the app for the Nigerian central bank digital currency (CBDC) — the e-naira — has now been downloaded 840,000 times, a report has said. This revelation suggests that less than one million Nigerians have embraced the digital currency that the CBN touts as a better alternative to volatile cryptocurrencies.

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The revelation of the number of times the e-naira app has been downloaded follows reports of growing Nigerian interest in cryptocurrencies. For instance, early this month, News reported that a survey had found Nigeria to be the country most obsessed with cryptocurrencies. Before that, a survey by Kucoin found that as many as 33.4 million Nigerian adults are holders of cryptocurrencies.

Even though the CBDC is still less popular than cryptocurrencies, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reportedly said it is hopeful of a tenfold increase in the number of e-naira downloads in the next 12 months. According to CBN governor Godwin Emefiele, the central bank’s ultimate objective is to ensure the CBDC is available to all Nigerians. Remarking on this objective, Emefiele, who spoke at a central bank-sponsored hackathon, said:

Just like the naira, the e-naira is expected to be available to all Nigerians and will provide more possibilities to bring the unbanked into the digital economy.

To ensure the CBDC becomes available to all Nigerian adults, the CBN revealed that starting on August 22, the e-naira will become available to unbanked adults. Emefiele reportedly said prospective users can access the e-naira by dialing 997 on their mobile phones.

Explaining why the CBN decided to introduce the digital currency, Emefiele said Nigeria had no choice but to embrace emerging technologies. The governor also predicted that the use of cash will “dissipate to zero” while the “use of digital currency will increase to become part of our lives.”

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