Over 10,000 Ghanaians Swindled in Bitcoin transactions 

 

Members of Parliament have cautioned the general public against crypto currency transactions which is gaining notoriety amongst Ghanaian investors in the currency market.

A total of 11,000 Ghanaians were allegedly last year swindled to the tune of one hundred and thirty five million Ghana Cedis (GHC135,000,000).

Crypto currency is a digital currency created in cyberspace where “miners” or users use the power of their computers to solve complex algorithms that serve as verification for transactions.

It is also stored digitally and passed between buyers and sellers without the need for an intermediary like the central bank or a financial institution.

Users do not need to use their real-world identities; instead they are represented by addresses, strings of random letters and numbers taking control out of the hands of third parties giving the users the freedom to transact while protecting their privacy.

This, however, infringes the central bank’s historically exclusive right to issue money and control money supply.

According to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Juaben, Ama Pomaa, Bitcoin, which has become a decentralised digital currency with a worldwide payment system, works without a central bank or single administrator.

She told Parliament that one Bitcoin converted to 22,241.71 Ghanaian cedis as of March 17, 2019, according to paprika.

She revealed that in December 2018, it was reported that the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) apprehended two directors of Global Coin Community Help who had swindled 109,29 Ghanaians up to the tune of GHC134 million.

The Juaben MP also noted that there was a problem with compliance due to the nature of crypto currency and crypto assets as users were anonymous and collecting data on digital currency.

Contributing to the statement, the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, stated that, “currently, anybody who does cryptos is illegal.”

According to him, “there is no centralised control as far as the Bitcoin is concerned.”

He added that until such a time that the central bank has it hands firmly gripped on crypto, the country was not safe in the transaction.

“This is a digital platform where money is transferred amongst the peers. It is not the cheque system where a central bank clears it,” Dr. Assibey Yeboah said.

On his part, the Deputy Minority Leader and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, James Klutse Avedzi, suggested that government should resource Bank of Ghana (BoG) to conduct research into crypto currency market.

He called on the BoG to regulate the practice.

The MP for Bantama, Daniel Okyem Aboagye, entreated his colleague MPs to be much concerned about the new phenomenon.

He called for more public education on Bitcoin transactions.

“Mr. Speaker, the discussion is good. It tells the entire nation that lawmakers are concerned about what is happening in the crypto coin, market”, he said.

 

 

 

 

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklin.asare-donkor@todaygh.com

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