CBN to Launch Nigeria's Cryptocurrency This Year, Months After Ban

CBN to Launch Nigeria's Cryptocurrency This Year, Months After Ban

  • Before the year runs out, Nigeria will start using digital currency created by the Central Bank of Nigeria, alongside stakeholders in the crypto industry
  • The central bank said the launch of the cryptocurrency will aid the growth of remittance in Nigeria, among other financial benefits expected to arise
  • In February this year, Nigeria's financial regulator had stated that cryptocurrency is illegal within the country, and ordered closure of every account linked to digital currency

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Nigeria will officially have its own digital currency this year according to Rukiyat Mohammed, the Director for Information Technology at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Mohammed stated that the financial regulator had been conducting extensive research on the cryptocurrency market in a bid to provide the country's digital coin.

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She said the same way everybody has access to cash, the digital asset will also be available to everyone once the Central bank roll it out by the end of the year.

What the central bank is saying

This was made known during the Bankers Committee meeting on Thursday, where she informed the public that stakeholders in the cryptocurrency market will be included into the central governance structure.

Despite the risk involved in the virtual currency, which has often been Emefiele's cause for concern, the CBN is now willing to bet on the digital asset, according to Mohammed:

“We have spent over two years studying this concept of central bank’s digital currency and we have identified the risks.
"And it is one of the reasons why I said we are setting up a central governance structure that would involve all industry stakeholders to access all the risks as we continue on this journey.

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“Very soon we would make an announcement on the date for the launch and by the end of the year we should have the digital currency."
CBN to Launch Nigeria's Cryptocurrency This Year, Months After Ban
Nigeria's Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele and illustration of cryptocurrencies. Photo: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg(R) and Jakub Porzycki/Nur(L)
Source: Getty Images

Why is CBN now interested in digital coin?

For years, the central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, had been critical of the cryptocurrency, stating that it is used for funding criminal activities. Only recently, at the Monetary Policy Committee of last month, did he started to shift ground.

In Mohammed's explanation, the cost of transaction, as well as cash management in Nigeria will be reduced with the introduction of the CBN-backed digital coin.

The apex bank believe that its crypto will be a catalyst for remittance growth in the country, as well as regulate the virtual currency market in the country.

Although she stated that bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance coin and other cryptocurrencies remain privately-controlled:

"Let me state categorically that cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and the rest of them are not under the control of the central bank; they are purely private decisions that individuals make.

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Meanwhile, had previously reported that El Salvador has become the first country to make bitcoin its official currency following a landmark decision by the lawmakers.

El Salvador's legislature passed the bill sent to it by the country's President Bukele, to increase its legal tender within the country, twenty years after making US dollar its currency.

Businesses within the country will now be allowed to receive bitcoin from customers as payment for goods and services, and will be converted at the exact value of dollar at the time of the transaction.


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Khadijah Thabit (Copyeditor) Khadijah Thabit is an editor with over 3 years of experience editing and managing contents such as articles, blogs, newsletters and social leads. She has a BA in English and Literary Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Khadijah joined in September 2020 as a copyeditor and proofreader for the Human Interest, Current Affairs, Business, Sports and PR desks. As a grammar police, she develops her skills by reading novels and dictionaries. Email:

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