Time was when corrupt politicians and other criminals used to bribe and exchange raw cash in ‘Ghana Must Go’ Bags. They graduated to the use of foreign currencies (for portability) – in briefcases.
Now, there is a different era, the era of invisible currencies, the crypto currencies.
Supposing I need to bribe that Governor with $10 million dollars to get that contract worth $500 Million, I can simply pay him in bitcoins. No trace, no stress.
Or, that new-age kidnapper wants a ransom of ₦100 Million. He doesn’t have to worry about having to physically go pick up physical cash from some remote location and risk being arrested by waiting policemen. Or, getting paid with secretly electronically_marked currencies, and getting apprehended eventually when he spends or tries to bank the money later on.
He merely demands to be paid in bitcoins..
The headline goes, US Woman Used Bitcoin To Move Cash To Islamic State, Police Say
You hear of territories mulling or implementing common currency (like the Euro, or the proposed common currency for the West African subregion), and then you juxtapose that with the already planetary acceptance of bitcoins and you wonder what effects virtual currencies are likely to have in the conventional currencies and the standard currency markets.
I haven’t the foggiest idea how the bitcoin and other less prominent cryptocurrencies work, or how they are mined, etc. The Cryptos are that Cryptic to me. All I know are the often confusing information gleaned online in an attempt to get some knowledge.
There has been a lot of news about how the value of these virtual currencies are skyrocketing, or have skyrocketed, with an analyst saying the value has multiplied 32 times in about two years.
That is serious ROI (Return on Investment).
Hearing this kind of ROI has piqued the interest of many people, with many financial experts saying it is just a bubble and water would eventually find its level.
But will it?
The Federal Government of Nigeria introduced the Bank Verification Number (BVN) System with the objective of tracking financial crimes including money laundering . Many illicit markets (including organized prostitution and drug rings) do not pass their funds through conventional banking systems to escape the radars of regulators. They generally deal in raw cash for transactional payments.
With the advent of the bitcoin, limitless volumes of money can be exchanged, transfered, laundered without any hindrance, instantaneously. Additionally, the payments are untraceable / undetectable. Terrorists can receive funding in cryptocurrencies. Corrupt politicians can be paid without the financial regulators being any wiser.
Would the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria still be relevant in policing some ‘Invisible Economic Crimes’? How are we going to beef up our CyberCrime Laws to take care of these developments?
Money Laundering Is The Process Of Creating The Appearance That Large Amounts Of Money Obtained From Criminal Activity, Such As Drug Trafficking Or Terrorist Activity, Originated From A Legitimate Source.
When you visit outlets like supermarkets or hotels, you could see signs like,
POS Available Here
You don’t need to carry cash for services.
Are we getting to the era where bitcoins would attain primacy over conventional currencies in (both legal and illegal) transactions?
Then, you would go to a Hospital and you would see a sign at the reception,
Could banks, especially in a place like Nigeria start losing some relevance as the cryptosystem doesn’t really make use of any formal centralized financial systems?
With more governments endorsing the use of crypto-currencies, what are the practical steps available to governments in stemming it’s use as money laundering instruments, and the earlier mentioned (mis)use of the virtual coins?
People hold their wealth in different assets like real estate, gold, etc. Would you change your money to cryptocurrencies and go to bed peacefully at night? .
As for me and my household, our hearts are not that strong to invest in something that is basically a Las Vegas Kind Of Gamble , with no one being able to tell or predict with certainty in what direction the values may go in the next ten seconds.! The continued rise in the value of these currencies is said to be as a result of their increasing use in money laundering. and other illicit trades like the Dark Web
It would appear that, as long as there is demand (buyers) for the currencies, they are here to stay.
Where I hail from, it is said that What Goes Up Must Come Down
Perhaps the bitcoins would defy the Laws of Gravity?
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