Nigeria has now had to postpone the launch of its CBDC due to issues that arose right before launch. The country had scheduled to release its CBDC called the eNaira on October 1st, the same day as its Independence Day celebration. This would mark the 61st year of the countries liberation from the British and the launch of the CBDC was meant to commemorate that.
The day before the scheduled launch, the country’s Central Bank’s director of communication, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, had announced that the launch of the eNaira would be postponed. This came as a surprise as it had previously been stated that the country was ready to release its official CBDC on October 1st. The postponement of the launch was attributed to technical issues which the country had run into following the launch of the eNaira website.
Unable To Support Demand
The Central Bank of Nigeria had announced a month ago that it had partnered with Barbados-based FinTech Bitt to launch its first CBDC. The website for the eNaira CBDC had been released ahead of its then scheduled launch date of October 1st. On the first day of launch, the eNaira website had garnered over 480,000 visits and this number had continued to rise over the following days.
On the second day, the website had recorded over 1.7 million hits, over 3 times the number of visits it had gotten on the first day. The following days saw the number balance out to an average of 2.8 million visits. This had significantly increased the website usage and the amount of content generated daily from visits hit over 80GB each day, according to a report from Nairametrics.
Given this, the country’s central bank had decided to postpone the launch to properly stress-test its facilities before launching the CBDC. This would help to avoid unforeseen problems that could arise from higher-than-anticipated traffic to the website and thus be able to serve the citizens of the country properly. A new date for the launch of the CBDC is yet to be announced by the central bank.
Nigeria Can Use eNaira
The project had earlier run into a small snafu where it was being sued over its rights to use the term eNaira for the project. A company name “ENaira Papment Solutions Limited (RC 508500)” had tendered a cease and desist letter to the Central Bank of Nigeria over the use of the term eNaira. Stating that the use of the name by the CBN was an infringement on its trademark.
Following the filing of the lawsuit, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had given the go-ahead to the CBN. The court stated that the CBN could proceed in its use of the name eNaira given the important nature of the project to the Nigerian economy. Adding that the plaintiff could be compensated for the use of the name for the CBDC.