Nigeria’s Central Bank plans to own a stake in Bitt Inc., the preferred partner helping the apex bank implement its digital currency initiative eNaira.
Reliable sources within the Central Bank inform Nairametrics that one of the conditions being considered for accepting Bitt Inc is for the company to register in Nigeria as a Limited Liability company allowing the central bank to own shares in its Nigerian entity.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has had a long-standing policy of being a shareholder in several financial payment services backbone such as NIBSS, NEFT etc. The bank’s leadership role in enabling an electronic banking system has made the country’s financial system one of the most sophisticated in the world. Nairametrics understands the CBN sees this partnership as mutually beneficial.
Nigeria’s central bank reported on Monday that it had selected Bitt Inc from “among highly competitive bidders” and will rely on it to actualize its naira digitization plans. Nairametrics understands there were over 100 bidders for the project made up of local and foreign potential partners but the CBN went with Bitt Inc. on the back of its experience by implementing this in 8 countries of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB)
There was backlash in some sections of FinTech operators on social media who believed the contract should have been awarded to a local company. Some alluded to the CBN’s decision being tantamount to impinging on Nigeria’s sovereignty. Nigeria is one of the 4 African countries that prints its paper currency locally. Most countries across the world rely on third parties to print their currency.
According to our source, Bitt’s role is to help mint the digital currency and distribute, while local FinTech companies are expected to assist with building other capabilities with it such as leveraging on eNaira to help with remittances, a key objective of the project.
The CBN expects the eNaira to be the backbone for several digital-enabled financial transactions in Nigeria such as enabling payment by utility companies, helping the government collect taxes and facilitating e-commerce.
Bitt is a Financial Technology company that utilizes blockchain and distributed ledger technology to facilitate secure peer-to-peer transactions with seamless mobile money across a suite of Bitt’s Software and Mobile Applications.
CBN “In choosing Bitt Inc, the CBN will rely on the company’s tested and proven digital currency experience, which is already in circulation in several Eastern Caribbean Countries. Bitt Inc. was key to the development and successful launch of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in April 2021.”