CBDC Hackathon Should Aim to Encourage Tech Culture, Foster Innovation in Africa – Modulus CEO

Mapping Africa

The Central Bank of Nigeria announced its eNaira hackathon, a conference for computer programming, which is aimed at increasing innovation surrounding the country’s CBDC. The conference is aimed at “driv[ing] financial inclusion, facilitate[ing] macroeconomic growth and integrat[ing] Nigerian economy to the world leading economies through innovation and cutting edge emerging technologies,” according to reports.

“It’s great that the Africa Fintech Foundry is spearheading this. One of the things that would aid African economies is more innovation hubs and accelerators. Working in conjunction with the central bank, that’s good for all involved,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges. “Driving inclusion within the fintech arena should be prioritized, not just in Nigeria, but throughout Africa.”

“One of the main factors in the success of the eNaira, or any CBDC, is the willingness of the population to adopt it. As we saw with the Great Bitcoin Gambit in El Salvador, just seeding a wallet with funding doesn’t necessarily develop long-term use habits. Granted, there are differences between a CBDC and Bitcoin, but, by and large, the question of adoption is one that can’t be overemphasized,” said Gardner.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele recently noted, “We cannot deny the fact that the newly introduced CBDC (eNaira) would be necessary in the future to ensure Nigeria is competitive as the world becomes increasingly digital.”

“We have seen in the past few years how digital currencies have opened international economies to individuals who wield them and how seamless they have made trading, buying, investing and other economic activities… We desire to achieve this and more with the eNaira with the underlying goal to boost Nigeria’s economic outlook. Innovators at the hackathon will develop solutions in the areas of international remittance, trans-border payment, blockchain, financial inclusion, and trade (AfCTFA),” added Emefiele.

“Making a success of the eNaira could be a real feather in the government’s cap. Nigeria, perhaps more than most countries, needs a positive outcome from their CBDC venture. In particular, the country’s heightened inflationary issues require success in this arena,” offered Gardner.

Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Modulus has provided its exchange solution to some of the industry’s most profitable digital asset exchanges, including a well-known multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable institutions, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.

“The best way to foster financial inclusion is to ensure that adoption is a success. That means spending considerable effort educating the populace on the technology, but it is more than that. In order to drive adoption, it really needs to be easy. That was one of the issues with the rollout in El Salvador — there were glitches in the technology. When a user is introduced to a new technology that they’re not fully sold on, the worst thing they can encounter is a glitch that makes it unusable for them,” said Gardner.

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