U.S. authorities have trained over 50 Nigerian investigators and prosecutors to tackle cryptocurrency-enabled organized crimes.
Specifically, the International Computer Hacking & IP Attorney Advisers (ICHIP) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Abuja, Nigeria, together with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), organized the cryptocurrency basics webinar for investigators & prosecutors in Nigeria.
The webinar was also a collaboration between the FBI, the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Addis Ababa, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, and the U.S. government on policies and programmes to combat international narcotics and crimes.
The training focused on ways to combat cryptocurrency-related fraud and monitor money laundering activities. This was done with the intention of enhancing the capacity of Nigerian investigators to investigate cryptocurrency-related crime.
Being unregulated and requiring no physical bank vaults, cryptocurrencies provide an easy route for criminals to launder proceeds of corruption, fraud, drug trafficking, and other heinous crimes.
There are also concerns about their security with many sophisticated fraudsters able to hack into digital vaults to steal assets from owners.
A report by blockchain analysis firm, Whitestream, has indicated that Lagos, Nigeria is the hub in Africa of crypto scams.
The report analyzed 4 crypto scams emerging from the city, where scammers rely on Instagram to attract new users, luring them with flashy lifestyles, before convincing them to send cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
In February 2021, The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) barred all regulated financial institutions in the country from transacting in cryptocurrencies citing a lack of proper regulation making them prone to financial crime.
Convexity Hub, a private outfit out of Nigeria that helps governments and institutions understand blockchain architecture and solve crypto-related financial crime, recently launched its services. This is the first hub of its kind in Africa.
Other than Nigeria, South Africa has witnessed mega crypto scams, such as the MTI which was by far the largest in the world in 2020 according to a Consensys report, and Africrypt, the crypto investment scheme which claimed it was hacked.
The respective prosecution of the high-profile scams in South Africa has found it hard to help victims recover their funds.
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