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- Digital renminbi
- Why China Finally Decided to Ban Bitcoin
- China has a digital currency — and people are starting to use it
- Bank of England takes next steps in digital money plan
- Shanghai Man: China’s version of McJob meme, eCNY airdrops, Canaan’s record revenue
- Digital yuan: what is it and how does it work?
Iwa Salami does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Nigeria recently became the first African country to introduce a digital currency.
It joins the Bahamas and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank in being among the first jurisdictions in the world to roll out national digital currencies. A digital currency is a means of payment or money that exists in a purely electronic form.
They are different from existing electronic central bank money , which is provided by central banks but can only be used by banks and selected financial institutions. When financial institutions pay each other, they pay in reserves from accounts held with a central bank. Before central bank digital currencies, the only way consumers could use money that is a direct liability of a central bank was with physical cash.
Existing digital retail payment from customer deposits accounts in banks are based on money that is the liability of the institution providing the account, not a central bank. A central bank digital currency is a direct liability on the central bank and is available to all households and businesses giving them access to electronic central bank money. It can be transferred or exchanged using technologies such as blockchain.
Blockchain is a system of storing records of transactions across a network of computers. A central bank digital currency is not a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are not currencies in most countries since they are not a generally accepted form of payment. Although they are still widely referred to as cryptocurrencies, they are best described as digital assets, or crypto-assets. The Bahamas, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda are among the seven countries that have launched central bank digital currencies.
The Central Bank has given several reasons for launching the eNaira. It is to:. One is its potential to disrupt existing banking systems. This could occur if citizens decide to hold digital currency instead of keeping their physical Naira in a bank account. This would mean that banks would not have money to grant loans and other financial products.
It could result in banks raising their interest rates as an incentive for customers to keep deposits within the banks. But then interest charged on loans would also go up to cover interest on savings. However, since the eNaira is non-interest bearing and the Central Bank can place transaction and balance limits on certain eNaira wallets, this risk is minimised.
The second risk is operational. For example, if IT systems were to fail or if there were technological glitches, or cyber-attacks. These can compromise user privacy. The Central Bank will need robust technology and IT security systems. Closely linked is reputational risk to the Central Bank if the operational risks materialise. They are likely to have a huge impact on its credibility and reputation both domestically and globally. When the Central Bank takes on this new function — issuing the eNaira and maintaining a central ledger of all transactions — it might find it harder to perform its key function of ensuring a safe and sound financial system since its focus could be diverted towards managing the eNaira system in addition to carrying out its other functions in the domestic economy.
A possible way to lighten this burden is through creating synthetic central bank digital currencies. This idea was put forward in in an International Monetary Fund paper. In such a system, the central bank does not directly manage the system, but outsources tasks to private institutions.
Financial institutions issue the digital currency, which is fully backed by central bank money. Closely linked is the risk of the system being used to launder money and finance terrorism. Financial institutions would need strong systems for combating these threats, supported by national legal infrastructure. Another risk is around data protection and privacy.
The Central Bank claims that the:. However, as the system is designed in line with the guidelines to prevent the illicit flow and use of funds which require identifying transacting parties and the details of their transactions, proper systems need to be in place to ensure that the privacy rights of users of the eNaira system are not violated.
Citizens need to know the difference between the digital representation of cash deposits in bank accounts and the eNaira in digital wallets. Nigeria could certainly pull this off, provided the technology infrastructure and the technological know-how are in place.
It is stated that the eNaira shall be administered by the central bank through the Digital Currency Management System to mint and issue eNaira but it appears this system has been built by Bitt , a global financial technology company.
It provides digital currency and stablecoin solutions to central banks, financial institutions and ecosystem participants worldwide. As such, the maintenance of the eNaira system would very much depend on the technological strength of this company and the extent to which they are retained to provide a maintenance framework for the system.
Another issue is the electricity crisis and lack of widespread access to the internet across the country. These should be immediate priorities for the Central Bank, and the government, to resolve for the eNaira system to be successful. Another challenge that the poor may have in accessing the eNaira system is the difficulty of attaining digital identity.
Getting the documents needed for these is expensive and cumbersome. As Nigeria has the largest population on the continent, spearheading this process could signal the start of a regional monetary integration.
If central bank digital currency arrangements could work together across the continent it could solve the challenge of the inconvertibility of African currencies. This could help intraregional trade, which has been challenging to achieve in Africa.
With the African Continental Free Trade agreement now operational, the successful launch of the eNaira might be a step towards regional monetary integration in Africa and potentially a regional central bank digital currency.
Edition: Available editions Global. Become an author Sign up as a reader Sign in. Iwa Salami , University of East London. What is a digital currency and how does it work? Events More events.
Why China Finally Decided to Ban Bitcoin
Today, although many critical details of the payment system remain opaque or undecided, e-CNY pilots are rapidly accelerating in scope and size. The e-CNY could also be used to navigate international transactions around payment systems and networks that can be shut off to Chinese financial institutions serving U. The growth trajectory, financial stability implications, and geopolitical consequences of the e-CNY will depend on how the PBOC and other state organs resolve important structural details regarding its underlying network. Central bankers should consider the trade-offs of state-sponsored digital currencies, and the U. One e-CNY is worth the same as one yuan in paper currency, and each will be exchangeable with the other. Other types of wallets—including hardware wallets, essentially reusable prepaid cards that can either be separate from or part of a hardware device such as a mobile phone—that are not linked to a particular bank, may offer more privacy, and hold small amounts of e-CNY are currently being piloted.
China has a digital currency — and people are starting to use it
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Bank of England takes next steps in digital money plan
Three Republican senators are urging the U. Olympic team to boycott China's still-nascent digital currency. Three Republican senators want to forbid U. Olympic athletes from using China's digital currency, saying it could be used to spy on and harass Chinese citizens. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to prohibit athletes from using the digital yuan, which China plans to officially launch in time for the Beijing Winter Olympics in
Shanghai Man: China’s version of McJob meme, eCNY airdrops, Canaan’s record revenue
China's official app for digital yuan is seen on a mobile phone placed in front of an image of the Chinese flag, in this illustration. However, Mu Changchun, the director-general of the digital currency institute of the People's Bank of China, told Hong Kong's "Fintech Week" conference there was no official launch date for the digital currency, also known as the e-CNY. Central banks around the world are looking at developing central bank digital currencies CBDCs to modernise their financial systems, ward off competition from cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and speed up domestic and international payments. China's efforts are among the most advanced globally, and the country has been running various trials and pilot schemes of different payment scenarios since last year. Mu said so far 1.
Digital yuan: what is it and how does it work?
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China will continue to advance the development of its central bank digital currency and improve its design, the People's Bank of China governor Yi Gang said on Tuesday. China is a front-runner in the global race to launch central bank digital currencies CBDC and is testing a digital yuan, or eCNY, in major cities including Shenzhen, Beijing, and Shanghai but has not set a timetable for its official rollout. China has been working on its national bank digital currency for more than half a decade and has run several successful pilot programs in many major cities over the last year. As reported earlier, the digital Euro is being tested by the European Central Bank.
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