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eNaira: CBN plans app for persons without bank accounts

The Chief Executive Officer of Bitt Inc., Brian Popelka, has said a phone application for people without bank accounts will be rolling out s...

The Chief Executive Officer of Bitt Inc., Brian Popelka, has said a phone application for people without bank accounts will be rolling out soon.

 

He said the present version of the eNaira app could only be used by people with bank accounts.

 

Bitt Inc. is the Central Bank of Nigeria’s technical partner for the digital currency, eNaira.

 

According to the CBN, inclusion is a core objective of the eNaira.

 

Popelka, in an interview with CoinDesk, said, “In Nigeria, it is a methodological rollout; this is our initial stage. A phone app specific for folks that are unbanked will be rolling out very soon, considering the fast follow-up from us.

 

“So that is how we see the financial inclusion question coming through. As far as interest goes, it is hard to say this early what the interest is. I imagine that the concept has a newness to it; people want to understand the inner workings of it and what to use it for.”

 

According to the CEO, launching the eNaira app was challenging, but the company relied on its past digital currency experience in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

 

Popelka added, “It is a sort of methodological rollout. We like the idea that there are stages. Nigeria has a very foursome rollout for all of the users for which we hope to get to over the course of many years, which means that they and we, of course, are in it for the long haul.

 

 “Post-launch though, as you can imagine, as the initial rollouts, it is really just sign-ups. Well, the central bank has minted and disbursed digital currencies to several key financial institutions. And therefore, there are merchants and consumers that are really just getting into the app store, downloading the app, and moving their traditional currencies into digital format at this stage.”

 

Popelka said the government would not be able to access the individual purchase histories of individuals using the eNaira app but would able to access bulk transaction histories.

 

He added that banks would have access to individual transactions in order to track fraud.

 

According to the CEO, financial institutions have a role to play in ensuring more people trust and use the digital currency.

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