CBDC and Crypto world Roundup 📍
What does the future hold for digital dollars, cryptocurrency and NFTs.
In December 2022, The Free-Range Technologist explored Central Bank Digital Currencies. This is the final post of this series. Previous issues explored:
Wrap-up Discussion with Robert Mowry.
Robert and I met on zoom this past Wed, the 28th. Thanks to everyone who submitted ideas and questions! We had a good look back at the year and made a few predictions about the coming year, chatting about CBDCs, Bitcoin, SEC Regulation, NFTs, and many other topics. Check it out below.
And check out Robert’s excellent newsletter here.
CBDCs are not going well in Nigeria
Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency (the eNaira) was launched on October 25, 2021, about 14 months ago. It seemed like a natural fit since so many Nigerians were already using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but most Nigerians are reluctant to use the eNaira. So far, it has about a 0.5% (half a percent) adoption rate where crypto is just as popular, if not more popular, than ever.
From January to August last year, Nigerians only trailed the United States in Bitcoin trading volume, and over the same period, Nigerians were more likely google “Bitcoin” than citizens of any other country.
In reaction, the government is now doing all it can to coerce the population into adopting the eNaira, including:
Restricting the use of ATMs and the withdrawal of physical bills to $45 per day.
Allowing for eNaira Transactions to be made via “unsmart” phones with text messaging via Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).
Providing discounts on transactions for motorized rickshaws.
The eNaira imposes several controls over users and (in my opinion) is not about bringing the unbanked into the banking system but about exerting more control over the economy (the black market is a substantial part of the economy in Nigeria and other countries that are exploring CBDCs).
I think that most people would agree that world needs more competition in retails payment services (instead of just visa, mastercard, etc.), and a better system for setting payments at the wholesale level (instead of the slow SWIFT and ACH systems). However, the more I learn about CBDC, the more convinced I am that retail CBDCs are not needed nor wanted by most citizens.
Comment below or try out discord and let me know what you think.
Beta Testing: Free-Range Discord
I am currently beta-testing a discord community for fellow Free-Range Technologists. You are welcome to join using this link. For many readers, this will be a new experience, so let me give you a couple of reasons why you should try discord:
Engage with fellow technologists who are working on challenging problems.
It is what all the younglings are using and developing, and they have created a technology ecosystem with lots of integrations and features.
Discord has entered a “post-gamer” development phase and is a real competitor with Slack and MS Teams.
Easy to move from server to server across platforms (unlike Slack).
Next week we are starting a new topic!
The Promise and Perils of Starlink and Planetary-Scale Internet Service Providers 🛰️
Have a safe and productive new year !
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