T he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) digital currency the eNaira, is expected to go live today with the official launch by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja. Already, the website www.enaira.com has gone live and banks have added it on their various electronic banking platforms.
The eNaira is a type of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) which over 80 per cent of central banks across the world are currently exploring. CBDC’s are new variants of central bank money that are different from physical cash and reserves/settlement accounts.
It is a digital representation of sovereign currency that’s issued by a jurisdiction’s monetary authority and a direct liability of the central bank that issued it. Contrary to some beliefs, CBDCs are not meant to replace cash and bank deposits but to coexist as additional form of Central Bank issued Money.
CBDCs are also not to be confused with cryptoassets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and the likes which are privately issued tokens based on cryptographic techniques and denominated in their own unit of account. Cryptoassets are thus fundamentally different from other kinds of digital money such as the CBDC which basically utilises technology to represent a country’s official currency in digital form.
The eNaira, while the website says the app can be downloaded, a search on Google playstore reveals that the app is yet to be loaded and scanning the quick response (QR) code takes one back to the website. Meanwhile, some commercial banks have started calling on their customers to register to get an invitation to join the eNaira community.
While waiting for the launch of the eNaira, here are a few things to know. First you have to register with your bank to receive invitation code after which you need to download the eNaira app; enter the invitation code received from the bank.
Having done this, you will need to enter minimum identification details (i.e., NIN, BVN, or know your customer (KYC)/anti-money laundering (AML) information, depending on the customer tier you are).
You would also need to enter other identification details such as name, place, date of birth, phone number, passport photograph, email and password).
Once your identification is validated, you will receive a notification from your financial institution after which you can log in to your account.
Individuals can fund their eNaira wallet by transferring physical money from their regular bank (e-banking app); and then the cash holder (bank) hands over cash to an eNaira verification agent/bank branch/CBN shared agent network expansion facilities (SANEF). Thereafter, the agent transfers the cash equivalent to the customer’s eNaira wallet.
For foreign exchange deposit to eNaira wallet, the diaspora regular account holder, such as HSBC, logs in to your customer forex bank account; transfers funds into international money transfer operators’ (IMTO) forex bank account such as Western Union; and then transfer from IMTO eNaira wallet to consumer eNaira wallet.