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What is digital banking? See the popular digital banks in Nigeria

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What is digital banking?

It is the twenty-first century and disruptive innovations are substantially sweeping off traditional banking systems. Who would have imagined, 20 years ago, that, today, it would be possible to send money to someone living miles away, pay utility bills, and get bank loans within a few seconds, without passing through the walls of a bank? The advent of digital banking has transformed the way banking services are offered. It is still rapidly unfolding and more advancements are underway. Nigeria has largely embraced the potentials of digital banking. Even traditional banks are now opting for the adoption of a digital bank, with Standard Chartered Bank and others like Wema, with ALAT, joining the league.

What is Digital Banking?

Digital banking is an innovative improvement to the banking system, and it involves the digitization of traditional banking services. What this means is that, via digital banking, regular banking activities like withdrawal, money deposits, transfers, loan application and management, can be done over the internet, thereby, eliminating the need for a physical  bank.  Digital banking puts a bank into everyone’s hands, anywhere and at any time. 

The Difference Between Digital Banking and Online Banking

Digital banking is very synonymous to online banking, and they are often used interchangeably. However, there is a fine margin between both banking systems. Although online banking allows anyone to perform several transactions without visiting a bank, it still does not completely eliminate the need for a physical bank. It merely complements the services that traditional banks offer. Services like transfers and deposit of large sums of money still require customers to visit a physical branch of a bank. 

Digital banking, on the other hand, encompasses online banking and other services that totally eliminate the need for a physical banking infrastructure. A digital bank is like an invisible bank. Every transaction can be carried out through a digital bank without customers ever having to step into the four walls of a bank.

Why Do We Need Digital Banking?

Visiting a bank is commonly associated with experiences of inconvenience and discomfort, from the long queues to the hours spent on processing a basic transaction. With digital banking, all of these can change. The banking experience no longer has to present uncomfortable encounters. You can be on your bed and experience the ease of accessing financial services that would normally require a visit to the bank. Digital banking offers convenience for banks and its customers. 

So much money is spent on developing and maintaining physical banking infrastructures. So many people, in rural areas and some other areas, do not have a physical bank branch with reasonable proximity to them, hence, they are excluded from the benefits of the financial system. Many even have to travel several miles to visit a physical bank in order to perform a basic transaction. Digital banking presents a means to cut down operating costs of banks, improve the experience of customers, and enable extremely fast execution of transactions by eliminating the need for a physical bank branch.

Advantages of Digital Banking

  1. Uninterrupted Access to Banking Services

Since digital banking does not rely on physical banks, it is not affected by closing office hours, public holidays or any circumstance that, in the case of traditional banking, would interrupt access to financial services. Digital banking allows customers to have round-the-clock access to financial services.

  1.  Reduced Costs

Digital banking eliminates the dependence on paper forms for transactions, as this is substituted with electronic transactions. This, and the elimination of running costs associated with a physical bank, reduces the expenditure of banking platforms and, in turn, reduces the cost required for customers to access banking services.

  1. Convenience

The ease of performing any transaction without having to visit a bank makes the banking experience of customers much more convenient and time-saving. Customers can put the time saved into other productive activities rather than enduring the time-consuming long-waits at traditional banks.

Top Digital Banking Platforms in Nigeria

Here are some of the popular digital banks in Nigeria

  1. ALAT, by Wema Bank
  2. Kuda Bank
  3. Rubies Bank
  4. Standard Chartered Bank
  5. Sparkle

What The Future Holds

What we have experienced so far with the rise of digital banking is just a taste of what is yet to come. As technology continues to advance, the future will see better versions of the digital banking experience with improved personalized services, smart banking assistants, better interface, interactions and usability, plus the birth of a plethora of innovative banking services which will be readily available at everyone’s fingertips.

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Kehinde is a driven human who is passionate about leveraging technology to transform the future of humanity and the way we all live. His interest lies in constantly getting valuable information and being part of a mission that seeks to create a transformative radical shift.

Crypto Assets

Crypto prices drop as global market fear increases

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Top cryptocurrency prices have fallen amidst a drop in stocks and fears over China’s Evergrande debt crisis. In the last 24hour, Bitcoin dropped from $47,772 to $42,630 shedding about 8.58%. this is the lowest in price since another bull run began on Sept 5 after the April crash.

El- Salvador’s President, Nayib Bukele sees the fall as an opportunity to invest more. Recall that the country adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender on September 7. Despite the adoption, the price of Bitcoin has fallen by almost 14% since then.

Other coins have experienced dramatic crashes within the last 24hours. Solana, a coin that has experienced 355% growth within the last 3 months fell from $162 to $130 shedding about 11.39% within the last 24hours. Solana’s fall may be categorized by the 17-hour outage which the founder, Anatoly Yakovenko said was caused by bots “flooding the networks”

Ethereum fell by 9.37% while Dogecoin and Axie Infinity fell by 11.22% and 14.14% respectively within the last 24hrs hours. While crypto experiences dark Monday, El-Salvador keeps investing more money in Bitcoin.

A look at the global market

The global market is experiencing fear due to the Evergrande debt crisis. A report published by the University of Michigan shows that consumer’s sentiment is beginning to decline. This trend alone may impact the crypto market as well.

On the other hand, the global market downturn must have been spurred by the Evergrande debt crisis. The company grew to be one of China’s biggest companies by borrowing more than $300bn. Last year, Beijing made rules to control the debt owed by big real estate developers. This led Evergrande to offer its properties at major discounts to raise more money to keep the business afloat. Right now, the company is struggling to meet the interest on payment of debts.

Why would it matter if Evergrande fails?

The collapse of the multi-million dollars company would affect the global market; including the crypto market. Many people bought properties from Evergrande and they expect to make gains. If Evergrande falls, crypto investors will be forced to withdraw more money to keep their business running without the means to invest more. When one business fails, the other gets affected indirectly. This also applies to other firms that do businesses with Evergrande.

The potential impact on China’s financial system is another effect of Evergrande’s fall. In his statement to BBC, Mattie Berkink, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), said that “the financial fallout would be far-reaching. Evergrande reportedly owes money to around 171 domestic banks 121 other financial firms” if the company fails, other lenders or businesses may be forced to lend less. Thereby leading to a credit crunch- a situation where companies struggle to borrow money.

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Bitcoin in Africa

The rise of CBDC in African economies

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Many nations have taken cues from the world of crypto and its resounding successes over the last decade. In order to avoid getting left behind, governments worldwide are increasingly turning their attention towards implementing some form of digital currency, a CBDC which in full is Central Bank Digital Currency. Although inspired by cryptocurrencies, CBDC’s are quite different from traditional crypto platforms. The main differences are that CBDC’s are unlikely to be decentralized, the supply of this currency regulated by the host’s country’s central bank as the CBDC is designed to operate as a sovereign legal tender, the digitized form of the host country’s fiat currency. Thus, a central bank may issue digitized tokens of its currency of which their value is pegged to the fiat currency of the nation in question, making CBDC’s stablecoins.

Africa has seen a rise in the use of cryptocurrencies and it’s still pushing frontiers in this sector. Although the use of crypto in many African nations is becoming more and more pervasive by the day, the tone of governments in many of these countries toward the sector is cautious at best and threatening at worst. However, a few nations have voiced interests in creating digitized versions of their legal tender to function as a CBDC. Amongst these are Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya and Tunisia.

Many of these projects are still in the research phase or developmental phase however. A good example is Ghana’s proposed CBDC, the E-cedi being developed in partnership with German company, Giesecke + Devrient. Nigeria’s CBDC project, the eNaira has been announced and according to Nigeria’s central bank, this CBDC will be launched sometime in 2021. To that end, the CBN has partnered with fintech company, Bitt Inc. to serve as the technical partner in the eNaira’s development. Reportedly, the CBN had made the decision to digitize the Nigerian Naira in 2017.

While the pursuance of digital currencies in African nations is a welcome development, implementation of these schemes isn’t without challenges. Chief among the issues countries in Africa face would be the already existing financial service inequality and poor penetration of internet access in the continent. These challenges must be tackled in order to allow for mainstream adoption of CBDCs and the subsequent provision of financial inclusion. The benefits largely depend on the peculiarities of the nation deploying them. For instance, a digital currency is thought to help Nigeria increase foreign remittances, it’s second largest source of forex after oil. Whatever the outcome of these projects, it is becoming apparent that CBDC’s have come to stay.

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Decentralize Brief

Bitcoin trades above $51k ahead of El Salvador’s adoption

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Bitcoin growth

Bitcoin price has rallied above $51,000 ahead of El Salvador’s adoption. The immediate surge in price may be due to the social media campaign that everyone should buy sats of Bitcoin to support El Salvador’s plan to make the coin a legal tender or it may be due to the news of El Salvador’s adoption of the coin as a legal tender on September 7. Users of social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit are discussing how they will buy Bitcoin of $30 each to mark the new El Salvador Bitcoin law.

The surge in Bitcoin’s price began in the last 24hrs with the price rallying around $51,955 with a 3.37% increase. This is an all-time high after the April crash that brought the price of Bitcoin from $64k down to $28k. The move by El Salvador to be the first country that accepts Bitcoin as a legal tender and the social media campaign that leads to a surge in price ahead September 7 are a repetition of events that occurred late last year and early this year with regards to institutional investors and how the price of Bitcoin skyrocketed.

El Salvador, a country in Central America, has been preparing heavily to adopt Bitcoin by installing ATMs to allow citizens to convert the token into US dollars. Last week, the country’s Legislative Assembly passed a law to allow for the creation of a $150m Trust to support the conversion of Bitcoins to US dollars.

To promote the use of Bitcoin, the government states that it will give the adult population of El Salvador $30 in Bitcoin once they download “Chivo” the wallet issued by the government. This was confirmed by the Finance Minister, Alejandro Zelaya.

What this means for Bitcoin investors

Apart from the adoption by Salvadorians, on-chain analytics show that Bitcoin is in high demand. The fourth halving that occurred will make Bitcoin become a scarce token in the nearest future. Thereby increasing the price sporadically.

With El Salvador’s interest in Bitcoin, other countries are likely to follow suit- Panama is considering following El Salvador’s lead. History will repeat itself as this development will serve as another crypto rout that occurred early this year when Tesla and MicroStrategy announced their support for Bitcoin.

El Salvador’s new law allows the use of Bitcoin as a legal tender it can be used to buy goods, pay for taxes and bank loans. This means more demand for Bitcoin, with the fourth halving that occurred, it means less supply. A common rule of economics for demand and supply will apply. Prices are projected to keep rising. At the time of writing this report, Bitcoin is trading at $51,839 with a projection of $52k before the end of today and higher tomorrow when Salvadorians begin to use the token.

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