Nigeria has its own digital currency: E-naira, a virtual currency produced by the central bank to promote economic inclusion and facilitate money transfers abroad, will be available from today. Nigerian head of state Muhammadu Buhari will showcase the new state cryptocurrency during a ceremony at the Abuja presidential palace. E-naira, according to what was announced by the head of state, will flank the classic currency and will be under the control of the national banking institution.
Several central banks are trying to launch virtual versions of national currencies to allow greater access to online payments and, as international analysts point out, to compete with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, which elude state regulators.
In what is currently the largest economy on the continent, this type of coins is in fact widely used: according to a ranking drawn up by Statista, a specialized German web portal, Nigeria is behind only the United States and Russia for the use of cryptocurrencies. As reported by the international media, this trend had worried the African country’s central bank, according to which the use of bitcoin and its virtual brothers is often destined for money laundering and terrorist financing.
With this initiative, the most populous country in Africa becomes a pioneer in the sector, beating neighboring Ghana, which for several months has embarked on a race to launch the E-cedi, the virtual version of the currency printed in Accra.
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.
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