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Exclusive: Why CBN postponed the launch of eNaira

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Exclusive: Why CBN postponed the launch of eNaira

An unanticipated surge in visits on the website of the Central Bank’s eNaira initiative has led to the sudden postponement of the launch of the apex bank’s digital currency dubbed “eNaira.”

The surge led to a recalibration of the number of potential users, which the bank now believes could be ten times more than earlier expected soon after the launch. The bank, therefore, decided to postpone the launch in order to recheck and retest the robustness, safety, scalability and security of the eNaira system.

This is according to information by sources close to the implementation of the initiative. The Central bank’s eNaira was set to launch on the 1st of October, however, yesterday, 30th September 2021, the CBN spokesman, Mr Osita Nwanisobi disclosed in Abuja that the CBN decided to postpone the launch, which had been initially planned to coincide with the Independence Day anniversary.

Behind the postponement scene

According to our sources, the CBN was prepared to launch the eNaira on the 1st of October 2021, but a sustained surge in traffic on the website has required a reassessment of the system powering the digital currency.

The eNaira website recorded about 480,000 hits the first day it went live. The visits grew to over 1.7 million the next day and has averaged over 2.8 million hits daily since then. Apart from attracting hits, the website has also recorded a surge in usage with the time spent on the site generating content of over 80 GB daily. This required that the apex bank conduct another stress test on its systems to ensure it is capable of withstanding a further surge in traffic when they go live.

The apex bank seems to have learnt from the botched launch of Obamacare which was coincidentally launched on the 1st of October 2013.

Back then, the website was unable to consistently handle 500 users at once in the testing phase, and tests failed with 2,000 users over a three-day period, according to a Reuters report at the time. Engineers conducted performance tests just before launch and the results pointed to capacity issues that could affect a smooth experience on the launch date. Yet they proceeded, embarrassing President Obama.

To sidestep a similar fate, Nigeria’s central bank decided to postpone the launch until they have assurances that their system has the right capacity to withstand a surge in visits.

eNaira treated as high priority also understands the apex bank is taking the launch very seriously and would ensure a successful launch.

There are over 12 directors and 75 staff of the apex bank directly involved in ensuring the digital currency is successfully launched. The team is camped out at a secure location working day and night to ensure everything goes hitch-free.

Our sources also reveal money had already been printed for the launch and wallets already active with selected users who are directly involved in the launch.

CBN’s digital currency initiative will make Nigeria the first country in Africa to launch a digital currency when it happens. The apex bank believes this initiative will deepen financial inclusion, bringing tens of millions of Nigerians into the banking system. The initiative is also expected to help assess the supply and velocity of money, and test the transmission effect of government stimulus programs in the economy.

In case you missed it

September 30, 2021, the CBN’s Director of Communication, Mr Osita Nwanisobi announced a postponement of the launch of Nigeria’s digital currency, the eNaira previously scheduled to hold on October 1, 2021.

“The CBN took the decision to postpone the launch, which had been initially planned to coincide with the Independence anniversary, in deference to the mood of national rededication to the collective dream of One Nigeria,” Nwanisobi noted in a statement.

Assuring that there is no cause for concern, he stated that the CBN and other partners are dedicated to ensuring a smooth process that benefits customers in general, particularly those in rural regions and the unbanked.

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