Nigeria’s E-Naira Lures About Half a Million People Weeks After Its Launch

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Nigerian central bank's digital currency has lured about half a million users three weeks after it was introduced in a move to entice people away from crypto currencies. Adoption rate for the Central Bank of Nigeria digital currency called eNaira "has been excellent," according to Osita Nwanisobi, spokesman for the Abuja-based lender. More than 488,000 people have downloaded the consumer wallet -- that's needed to transact eNaira -- while about 78,000 merchants from more than 160 countries have enrolled, Nwanisobi said by phone. The central bank is opposed to crypto currencies but that hasn't stopped Nigerians from using virtual currencies as a hedge against the nation's capital controls and to remit money. Demand is so large that individuals in the West African nation hold the world's highest proportion of such assets per capita, according to a survey by Statista. About 62 million naira ($150,000) of the virtual currency have been traded since it was introduced, according to Nwanisobi. The nation has traded 60,215 Bitcoins since 2017 to the end of last year -- valued at $3.9 billion as of Monday -- the largest volume outside the U.S., according to Paxful, a peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace. It has also the largest proportion of retail users conducting transactions under $10,000, according to Chainalysis.

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