The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has stated that the apex bank will control a majority stake in Bitt Inc., its technical partner for digital currency, eNaira.
The CBN chief stated this said at the end of the CBN monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting that took place on Friday.
The apex bank had announced in July that the pilot scheme of e-Naira would be launched on Nigeria’s independence day anniversary, October 1, 2021.
This came months after the apex bank ordered banks and other financial institutions to shut down accounts belonging to individuals or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions.
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The CBN warned that cryptocurrencies are a risk to investments, means for laundering money, financing of terrorism , illicit fund flows and other criminal activities.
Emefiele said: “We chose Bitts as a partner… that they will establish their company in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria will own a majority stake in that company.
“As with all attempts at choosing contractors, the CBN went through a rigorous vendor selection process in line with the Public Procurement Act conducted by seven departmental directors and a deputy governor.
“Ten companies were evaluated based on the following criteria: technology ownership and control; implementation timeline; efficiency and ease of adoption; support for anti-money laundering and combatting of terrorism; platform security; interoperability; and implementation experience”.
He noted the company was picked as the preferred bidder from a pool of six applicants as they emerged first, obtaining an average scoring grid of 82.3 percent.
The CBN governor further said from the launch of the pilot scheme of Nigeria’s digital currency, anyone interested would be able to access and utilise the resources.
“We have all the approvals and mandates to launch on October 1, but it is important to understand that eNaira is not a one-off, it’s a journey that starts on October 1.
“From October 1, a Nigerian will be able to download the eNaira app from either Google Play Store or App Store, fund their eNaira wallet using their bank accounts or with cash at a registered agent, location.
“They will conduct transactions such as transfers and purchases at merchant outlets that have onboarded.
“We are not going to pretend that there are no risks in opening our system up. We will look at the various products, determine the risk, and determine the best way to mitigate the risk before we now open it up more and more,” Emefiele added.