17
Wed, Jul

MPs URGE CAUTION ON BITCOIN AS 110,000 GHANAIANS LOSE GHC135M

Business & Economy

Members of Parliament have cautioned the public against cryptocurrency transactions that are gaining notoriety among Ghanaian investors in the currency market, where 110,000 unsuspecting Ghanaians were swindled to the tune of GHC135 million in 2018 alone.

Members of Parliament have cautioned the public against cryptocurrency transactions that are gaining notoriety among Ghanaian investors in the currency market, where 110,000 unsuspecting Ghanaians were swindled to the tune of GHC135 million in 2018 alone.

Cryptocurrency is an electronic finance trade in cyberspace, where “miners” use the power of their computers to solve complex algorithms that serve as verification for transactions.

Gains

Rewards are stored digitally and passed between buyers and sellers without any need for an intermediary such as the Bank of Ghana or any other financial institution.

Consequently, 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 and giving users the freedom to transact while protecting their privacy.

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

Alarm bells

Following the Bitcoin scam perpetrated against some Ghanaians, MPs yesterday sounded a note of caution to the general public to be circumspect in the transactions.

According to Ama Pomaa Boateng, MP for Juaben, 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 GHC22,241.71 as of March 17 2019.

EOCO intervenes

Ms Boateng said that in December 2018, it was reported that the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) had apprehended two directors of Global Coin Community Help who had swindled 109,259 Ghanaians to the tune of GHC134m.

Ama Pomaa stressed that there is also the issue of lack of compliance due to the nature of cryptocurrency and crypto assets, because the users are anonymous and it is extremely difficult to collect data on digital currency users.

Contributing to the statement, the chairman of the finance committee of Parliament, Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah, said currently anybody who does crypto trades is engaged in an illegal transaction.

According to him, there is no centralised control as far as the trade in Bitcoin is concerned.

Until such time as the Bank of Ghana gains a firm grip on crypto, the country will not be safe using these transactions, Dr Assibey Yeboah said.

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

Education

The Deputy Minority Leader and chairman of the public accounts committee, James Klutse Avedzi, suggested that government should resource the Bank of Ghana to conduct research into the cryptocurrency market.

He also called on the Bank of Ghana to regulate the practice.

Daniel Okyem Aboagye, MP for Bantama, said his colleagues should be interested in this new phenomenon.

He reiterated that there is a need to educate Ghanaians to understand the concept comprehensively so as not to fall victim.

“The discussion is good,” Mr Aboagye said. “It tells the entire nation that lawmakers are concerned about the happenings on cryptocoin.”


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