Nigerian Central Bank Taps Bitt Inc to Help in its Digital Naira Development
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has contracted the services of global fintech firm, Bitt Inc in the developmental efforts targeted at its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) project. The project codenamed ‘Project Giant’ has been under incubation since 2017, with the sole aim of digitizing the country’s official currency, the Naira.
As contained in a press release shared by the apex bank, “the CBN’s selection of Bitt Inc, from among highly competitive bidders, was hinged on the company’s technological competence, efficiency, platform security, interoperability, and implementation experience.”
Bitt Inc was invaluable in the development of the pilot programs for several Central Bank Digital Currencies for several Eastern Caribbean Countries. The CBN is looking to tap into the company’s proven experience and role in the digital currency ecosystem as well as in the launch of the CBDC pilot of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) back in the second quarter of the year.
Guidelines for Digital Naira Launch Already Issued to Banks
Recently, the Nigerian Central Bank issued a 5 stage process to banks and financial players in the country to detail how the digital Naira will be launched.
As reported by local news media, Nairametrics, the Monetary Authority Suite designed to handle first product component that includes the issuance, distribution, redemption and burning of the digital currency. Here, the CBN will also develop the modalities for storing data on a cloud server, as well as in monitoring and analyzing currency transactions.
The other four suites involves the roles of commercial banks in marketing and onboarding users, the development of capacity to process and settle the digital Naira transactions by the government, merchant integration and consumer testing respectively. According to the CBN’s timeline, the Digital Naira project is on track to be launched by the end of the year.
The Global CBDC Momentum
Over the past years, new economies including the United States, and the United Kingdom have thrown their weight behind conducting detailed research and use cases into potential CBDC development and issuance.
Prior to this time, China, Japan, Singapore, and Sweden have advanced efforts in this CBDC pursuit, and Bahamas came off as the first country in the world to officially launch a functional CBDC dubbed the Sand Dollars back in October 2020.Source