The digital currency or e-Cedi to be piloted from this month, can be deposited on smart devices such as smart phones and smart watches as savings, Head of Financial Technology and Innovation at the Bank of Ghana, Kwame Oppong, has disclosed.
Those without smart phones can also make payment or transfer or store/save the e-Cedi on phones which are not ‘smart’ in nature, using the USSD code.
Mr Oppong told Joy Business in Accra yesterday that the e-Cedi would complement other electronic payment systems including mobile money, but more importantly deepen the cash-lite agenda.
“I can for instance have a card, very simple card that I can store my e-Cedi on. Rather than carrying a large sum of cash somewhere to go and make a payment, I could have one of these cards and save the e-Cedi on it. It’s also important to mention that because its digital, you can save beyond cards; you can also save it on smart devices such as smart watches, smart phones,” he said.
“To also mention, for those who may not have access to data, but have access to our usual USSD code which is quite common in Ghana, you can still use that to spend the e-Cedi. And so to a large extent, the e-Cedi comes to replace cash and the role that cash is playing in the system now”, he pointed out.
“Fortunately for us, we have a unified QR (Quick Response) system that allows very small merchants -micro merchants – to be provided the ability to receive payment digitally”, he stressed.
The Bank of Ghana assured consumers that the e-Cedi would be well secured and safe from cyber-attacks.
According to Mr Oppong, there were many inherent securities embedded into the digital currency which made it well protected.
He further mentioned that the Central Bank was using the most robust technology and design that will protect users of the e-Cedi.
“The e-cedi will be available for use in different means. If you have a bank account, you can spend it with your debit card, you can spend it by moving it with your banking app and similarly you can withdraw it onto offline card as well, and in that case you don’t see the e-Cedi physically or with your eyes. But all the safety features, and the security features that we incorporate into currency, are also going to be embedded in there”, he mentioned.
He explained that the cyber security threats and risk of fraud digitally driven have been looked at very carefully, outlining further that “if you look at the choice and the partner (currency designer) we took, that reflect our focus of using the robust technology that will safeguard users of the e-Cedi.”
“That entity that we have partnered with and helping us with the technology underlying it has about 160 years in printing currency. So that is the first step,” he added.
“The second thing is the design of the usage of the e-Cedi, and so today because it’s a digital version of cash, on one hand it’s secured by being digital because people cannot virtually see it and know how much you have and carry the money away. But on the other hand, it also exposes you to cyber security risks. And so to that end, the existing processes and existing modalities safeguarding your bank account and mobile money is still at play,” he said.
Last month, the Bank of Ghana announced the partnership with Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) to pilot a general purpose Central Bank Digital Currency, e-Cedi in Ghana.
To this end, the Central Bank signed an agreement with G+D to implement a pilot CBDC project as a precursor to the issuance of a digital form of the national currency, the Cedi.