Ghana to explore offline transactions for upcoming CBDC

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Ghana is working to develop offline capabilities for its future central bank digital currency (CBDC) with the aim of promoting its use in all segments of Ghanaian society.

According to an Oct. 18 report from Bloomberg, Kwame Oppong, head of FinTech and Innovation at the Bank of Ghana (BoG), revealed that the country’s digital currency “e-cedi” will support offline transactions during the Ghana Economic Forum Monday.

Oppong pointed out that the offline functionality will allow Ghanaians who do not have reliable access to electricity and internet connectivity to adopt the country’s CBDC, saying:

“The e-cedi would also be able to be used in an offline environment thanks to certain smart cards. “

A smart card is a plastic card the size of a credit card with a chip that allows its user to make transactions using a preloaded balance. A similar system has been tested by Oxfam to facilitate payments using the decentralized DAI stablecoin to alleviate environmental disasters.

According to World Bank data released in 2019, 84% of Ghanaians had stable access to electricity at the time, while only 53% were connected to the Internet.

Related: G7 leaders issue guidance on central bank digital currency

In August, BoG announced its partnership with German finance company Giesecke + Devrient (G + D) to pilot a retail CBDC in Ghana.

The announcement came just one month after Ghanaian Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia advocated for African governments to embrace digital currencies as a way to boost trade across the continent at the Fifth International Conference on Ghana Trade and Finance in July.

Local adoption of decentralized cryptocurrencies is also on the rise, with analyst firm Chainalysis reporting that the African cryptocurrency market has grown by more than 1,200% since 2020 last month.