Nigeria's central bank digital currency (CBDC), the eNaira, has been used to carry out transactions worth 4 billion naira ($9.3 million) since it was introduced last October, according to country's central bank governor.
In a speech on Thursday, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele described the volume and value of transactions on the platform as "remarkable," noting the eNaira app has been downloaded 840,000 times and now has about 270,000 active wallets.
Nigeria has a population of about 200 million, and it is the largest economy in Africa with a gross domestic product of about $430 billion.
It is estimated, however, that around 40% of the population doesn't have a bank account, including 59 million unbanked adults, a matter that the CBN intends to tackle with the CBDC. The bank is seeking to get 8 million more people to start using the eNaira platform in its second phase.
That phase begins next week, when both banked and unbanked Nigerians will be able to open a eNaira wallet by dialing a four-digit code on their mobile phones, Emefiele said.
Nigeria was the second country to introduce a CBDC, following the Bahamas a year earlier. In the months preceding the eNaira's inception, the CBN attempted to stave off cryptocurrency use among the public, ordering banks to close any accounts that had crypto transactions.