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Digital currencies Vs Fiat system: The eNaira case study

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Written by   178
7 months ago
Topics: News, Investing, Society

A couple of days ago several media outlets carried a headline which I believe as usual was carefully worded to attract traffic and bring about or spark controversy as usual. These two items i.e. traffic and controversy are what most media outlets especially the online platforms literally hunt for these days. Their similitude is like that of a great white shark and blood with the latter being like a magnet for the former. Wherever there is the slightest whiff of controversy, trust the media especially the mainstream outfits to swoop in like the great white shark for the kill.

The headline read:

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) spends 58.6 billion naira to print 2.5 billion naira notes

The message which most readers implied from the headline was that the central bank spent 58.6 billion naira to print 2.5 billion naira worth of bank notes. The writers of the caption clearly decided to omit the fact that the said amount was spent to print 2.5 billion naira notes worth more than a trillion naira (1.06 trillion naira) which other media outlets reported. This was a deliberate act of click baiting as anyone would surely want to read the details for such a controversial headline. Whether or not the amount expended to achieve this is a subject which those with years of experience on how the system of printing fiat money works are competent to deliberate on.

However this story brings to the fore the attendant costs that go with the continued use of the fiat system. From my calculations the implication of printing the said number of notes meant that an average of 18.08 (about 0.04 USD or 4 cents based on the official exchange rate of 414 naira to 1 USD) naira was expended on printing each naira note.

If the country had since adopted digital currency as it has now done, there wouldn't have been the need to spend so much on printing of fiat money as it will still be needed for some time pending when there is adequate mass adoption of the newly launched digital naira to give way for a phased withdrawal of bank notes from circulation.

I can only imagine what other nations spend to continue bankrolling the current use of fiat money. For example the United States 2021 proposed currency operating budget for is 1,095.8 million USD with the printing of a 100 USD note expected to cost 14 cents (0.14 USD). The cost of other denominations as presented on the website of the United States Federal Reserve is presented below

Denomination Printing Costs

$1 and $2 6.2 cents per note

$5 10.8 cents per note

$10 10.8 cents per note

$20 11.2 cents per note

$50 11.0 cents per note

I expect that all countries still solely relying on the fiat system are probably looking for ways of cutting down costs of maintaining the system. The adoption of digital currencies is surely the sustainable way to go to achieve this.

A brief on the eNaira

The eNaira was officially launched on 1st October, 2021 by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the first central bank regulated digital currency in Africa .It will run on Hyperledger fabric blockchain and follow the official naira exchange rate. The CBN allayed fears that the introduction of the eNaira was not an attempt to steal customers from the commercial banks. It further stated that the eNaira offers several advantages to the country such as:

  1. reduction in the costs associated with the handling of bank notes

  2. reduction of transaction related costs

  3. faster transactions

  4. financial inclusion for many unbaked Nigerians as there are plans for a version of the eNaira app to cater for this group of citizens

After the launch of the eNaira and the release of the app in the Google play store, I gave the eNaira app a spin. The app has a simple and minimalist interface with the option of using QR codes for making as well as receiving payments. I did a transfer from my bank account to the enaira wallet and it went through quite quickly. However a transfer from the wallet to my bank account was another story entirely. The transaction i.e. the credit did not reflect in my account until about 24 hours later which is rather poor but not unexpected as the enaira is still in its infancy.

Thus for better adoption of the digital naira (eNaira) platform to reduce the costs associated with maintaining the current system of printing bank notes, the system needs to be tweaked or fine tuned quickly to ensure that the transaction times is at par with that of the current systems being used by banks or even faster.

With the lists of countries with central banks floating digital currencies steadily increasing, it is obvious that digital currencies have come to stay and will not be going anywhere anytime soon irrespective of the initial challenges with its deployment and mass adoption.

Digital currencies are clearly the next phase in the evolution of the financial system of the world which has been recognised by governments across the globe even if they wouldn't love to acknowledge it. Those who have realised this will do well to start making well planned investments in cryptocurrencies with good use case scenarios as well as solid fundamentals if they haven't already done so. Remember:

"The future belongs to those who plan for it today".

Shukran

Danke

Merci

Gracias

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ধন্যবাদ

Спасибо

for reading.

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Written by   178
7 months ago
Topics: News, Investing, Society
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Comments

The adoption of the e-naira is not a bad idea as long as the Nigeria government have the political will to see it through

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7 months ago

I wish those politicians in the government system would listen to the voice of the masses. They only get to do what's on their mind really. Nice one!

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7 months ago