Kunle Taiwo, CCI (Certified Cryptocurrency Investigator)
Cryptocurrencies have become a global phenomenon, with their rise in popularity and adoption in various sectors of the economy. One of the major advantages of cryptocurrencies is their decentralized nature, which enables peer-to-peer transactions without the need for intermediaries such as banks or financial institutions. However, this advantage has also led to the increased use of cryptocurrencies in illicit activities, including money laundering, terrorism financing, and cybercrime. This article focuses on the use of cryptocurrency in Nigeria and the need for law enforcement agencies to develop capacity in crypto investigations and enforcements for the purpose of ensuring national security and advancement.
Nigeria, like many other countries, has witnessed a significant increase in the use of cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin. Unfortunately, this has also led to a corresponding increase in the number of complaints and cases related to cryptocurrency fraud and illicit smart contract practices. There are so many cryptocurrency complaints and smart-contract sharp practices in Nigeria but due to lack of technical expertise, the technical know-how needed for investigations and enforcements is holding back many cryptocurrency crime groups.
In Nigeria, there have been numerous reports of cryptocurrency-related fraud and scams, which have led to significant financial losses for victims. These scams have also done some damage on the reputation of Nigeria’s growing crypto industry. With the increasing use of cryptocurrencies in the country, it is imperative that law enforcement agencies step up their efforts to combat cryptocurrency-related crimes.
In response to the emergence of cryptocurrency-relates crimes, the need for law enforcement agencies to increase their cryptocurrency investigation knowledge-base amongst its agencies has become more critical than ever before for national security and national advancement.
Read also: What is cryptocurrency?
Steps law enforcement agencies should take to ensure investigation and enforcement of cryptocurrency-related crimes
To begin with, law enforcement agencies need to understand the technical aspects of cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology, blockchain. The blockchain is a decentralized ledger that records all cryptocurrency transactions, making it difficult to manipulate or hack. This means that cryptocurrencies can be used to conduct anonymous transactions, which make them attractive to criminals. Law enforcement agencies need to have a good understanding of blockchain technology to be able to investigate and prosecute crimes involving cryptocurrencies effectively.
Second, law enforcement agencies need to understand the different types of cryptocurrency crimes and how they are committed. These crimes include phishing, ransomware attacks, Ponzi schemes, and other forms of fraud. With a good understanding of these crimes, law enforcement agencies can identify patterns and trends that can help them in their investigations.
Another important aspect that law enforcement agencies need to be aware of is the pseudonymity and in some cases the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions. Consequently, cryptocurrency transactions are not easily traceable to an individual or organization, which makes it challenging for law enforcement agencies to track down criminals. However, with the right expertise and tools, law enforcement agencies can track and trace these transactions, identify the wallets used, and connect them to individuals or organizations.
Moreover, law enforcement agencies need to be proactive in their approach to cryptocurrency investigations. They need to have the right resources, including technology and personnel, to be able to investigate cryptocurrency crimes effectively. This means investing in the necessary training and equipment to enhance their technical expertise and capability.
International collaboration is vital for capacity building for law enforcement agencies. One way to enhance the cryptocurrency investigation knowledge-base amongst law enforcement agencies in Nigeria is to collaborate with other countries that have developed expertise in this area. International collaboration could involve joint investigations, exchange programs, and training sessions. This approach will not only enhance the technical expertise of Nigerian law enforcement agencies but also improve their understanding of the global cryptocurrency landscape.
The increasing use of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria has led to a corresponding increase in the number of cryptocurrency-related crimes. To effectively combat these crimes, law enforcement agencies need to enhance their cryptocurrency investigation knowledge-base amongst its agencies. This will require investing in the necessary resources, including technology and personnel, in order to enhance their technical expertise and capability. Moreover, collaboration with other countries with expertise in this area will also be necessary to achieve this goal. By taking these steps, law enforcement agencies in Nigeria will be better equipped to effectively combat cryptocurrency-related crimes, ensuring national security and promoting national advancement.
Kunle Taiwo, CCI is a digital forensics detective and investigator with the Nigeria Police Force. He is a member of Cryptography Development Initiative of Nigeria (CDIN) and one of CDIN’s delegate in the Blockchain Industry Coordinating Committee of Nigeria (BICCoN).