CBN to create eNaira app for persons without bank accounts

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

Grace Cofie

The Chief Executive Officer of Bitt Inc., Central Bank of Nigeria’s technical partner for the digital currency, eNaira, Brian Popelka, says a phone application for people without bank accounts would be created.

He made the statement, adding that the present eNaira app could only be used by people with bank accounts.

According to the CBN, inclusion is a core objective of the eNaira.

The CEO, who made the statement during an interview with CoinDesk, said, “In Nigeria, it is a methodological rollout; this is our initial stage. A phone app specific for folks that are unbanked will be rolling out very soon considering the fast follow-up from us.

“So that is how we see the financial inclusion question coming through. As far interest goes, it is hard to say this early, what the interest is. I imagine that the concept has a newness to it; people want to understand the inner workings of it and what to use it for.”

According to Popelka, launching the eNaira app was challenging, but the company relied on its past digital currency experience in Barbados and the Eastern Carribean.

He added, “It is a sort of methodological rollout. We like the idea that there are stages. Nigeria has a foursome rollout for all of the users, for which we hope to get over the course of many years, which means that, they and we, of course, are in it for the long haul.

“Post-launch though, as you can imagine, as the initial rollouts, it is really just sign-ups. Well, the central Bank has minted and disbursed digital currencies to several key financial institutions. And therefore, there are merchants and consumers that are really just getting into the app store, downloading the app, and moving their traditional currencies into digital format at this stage.”

The Butt Inc. CEO said the government would not be able to access the individual purchase histories of individuals using the eNaira app but would be able to access bulk transaction histories.

He further said that banks would have access to individual transactions in order to track fraud.

According to Popelka, financial institutions have a role to play in ensuring more people trust and use the digital currency.

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