Central Bank of Nigeria Blames Banks for CBDC Launch Delay

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  • The Central Bank of Nigeria has blamed the postponement of its CBDC rollout on the country’s banks
  • The agency said that banks weren’t ready for the rollout having had two months to prepare
  • The Central Bank of Nigeria is also involved in a legal dispute over the name of the currency

The Central Bank of Nigeria has blamed the country’s banks for the delay in rolling out its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the e-naira, rather than a lawsuit filed by a payment solution company. The Central Bank of Nigeria had hoped to launch the e-naira on October 1 but delayed the rollout due to a belief that not all banks were ready to accept the CBDC despite a heavy public campaign. This delay coincided with the lawsuit which claimed copyright infringement over the name.

E-Naira Launch Delayed 24 Hours Before Launch

The Central Bank of Nigeria announced its plans to launch the e-naira CBDC in July, with October 1 pegged as the launch date. The government has engaged in a public campaign to encourage retailers, banks, and individuals to prepare for the launch, and until last week there were no signs that the launch would be delayed.

However, just 24 hours before the CBDC was going to go live, Central Bank of Nigeria spokesman Osita Nwanisobi announced that the launch was going to be deferred “due to other key activities lined up to commemorate the country’s 61st Independence anniversary.”

Lawsuit Filed Against Central Bank of Nigeria

This delay coincided with a lawsuit brought by Nigerian payments firm Enaira Payments Solution who filed a trademark infringement lawsuit based on its use of the term “e-naira.” The firm’s lawyers argued that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s plans to use the name posed a threat to their business and represented wilful infringement. However, a high court judge yesterday ruled that the Central Bank of Nigeria could continue and that the Enaira Payments Solution “may be adequately compensated.” Both parties will return to court on October 11.

A revised launch date of the e-naira has yet to be publicized, but the delay is clearly an embarrassment for the Central Bank of Nigeria, coming as close as it did to the launch date, regardless of the reason.