Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to announce today the launch of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) to improve the processing of transactions in the country’s payment system.

“Following series of engagements with relevant stakeholders, including the banking community, fintech operators, merchants and a section of Nigerian citizens, the CBN has designed a digital currency,” the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said.

According to the bank, the project will continue “with a series of changes and improvements in capabilities and platforms.”

The eNaira website went live on Sept. 30, a day before its official launch which was previously scheduled for Oct. 1.

The CBN is promoting the new CBDC with the slogan: “Same Naira, More Opportunities.”

According to observers, this development effort could be part of the policies pursued by the Nigerian authorities to counter the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies among the country’s population.
Last August, digital asset research firm Arcane Research noted in an analysis that as cryptocurrency adoption is growing in Nigeria, the country’s government is working “to curb Bitcoin (BTC) adoption, partly motivated by a desire to prevent protesters in the EndSars movement from receiving funds to finance their operations.”

“However, unsurprisingly, stopping a censorship-resistant, globally-traded alternative to the Naira has been more difficult than expected. Where there is a will, there is a way, and Nigerian citizens have been avid users of peer-to-peer markets. This has now led to sub-Saharan Africa becoming the largest region in terms of transaction volume in these markets globally,” according to the firm.

A recent paper by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis ranks Nigeria sixth in the Global Crypto Adoption Index, preceded by Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Ukraine and Kenya, respectively.