Nigeria’s central bank digital currency has been adopted by just 0.5% of the country’s population, according to recent reports.
Launched in October 2021, the eNaira CBDC was designed to help the unbanked in Africa’s most populous nation. However, widespread confusion and a general mistrust of the ruling elite have hampered its adoption among the 218 million populace.
On Nov. 3, geopolitical analyst Nick Giambruno aired his thoughts on the CBDC situation, proclaiming that “the eNaira has been a massive failure.”
Nigerians Prefer ‘Real’ Crypto
Nigeria has been a “petri dish” for central bankers, academics, politicians, and an “assortment of elites” from over 100 countries, he added. Furthermore, they are monitoring things in view of launching their own CBDC, many of which are already in the pilot phase.
With just 1 in 200 people using the eNaira, it has fallen way short of government expectations. This came as a surprise to the ruling elites, he added.
“They figured Nigerians wouldn’t be able to differentiate between Bitcoin and the eNaira—they are both digital currencies, after all.”
Nigerians are big on crypto, with the country ranking eleventh globally for Bitcoin adoption. Furthermore, they are generally wary of anything the state pushes on them, favoring more decentralized and unrestricted digital assets.
In August, BeInCrypto reported that Nigeria led global search trends for Bitcoin and crypto information. The increasing demand for crypto came after the central bank banned banks from servicing crypto exchanges in February 2021.
In conclusion, Giambruno labeled it as a victory for freedom:
“The failure of CBDCs in Nigeria could throw sand in the gears of the elites’ plan to implement them worldwide. That would be a big positive for human freedom.”
Nigeria could now set a precedent for CBDC adoption (or rejection, it seems) in other countries planning deployment, such as China.
Global CBDC Rollout Outlook
According to the Atlantic Council, 15 countries are currently piloting a CBDC, including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. It comes as no surprise that authoritarian regimes such as these are leading the race to deploy their state-controlled digital currencies.
Earlier this week, BeInCrypto reported on concerns relating to a CBDC linked to national digital IDs. It would give autocratic governments the perfect tools to monitor and control what their citizens can spend and where.
In summary, Nigerians have been the first to reject a CBDC on a wide scale, having seen what their leaders are really up to.