Connect with us

E-Financial

CBN, Experts Say Bitcoin is Dangerous Scam

Published

on

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Nigerians and financial institutions to stay away from bitcoin and other digital currencies.

 

Experst also said that when bitcoin inevitably crashes, inexperienced investors who believed the hype could lose everything.

 

In Nigeria, CBN said the virtual currencies are not legal lenders in Nigeria and are unacceptable.

 

The bank called on financial institutions not to transact businesses in the currencies and anyone who does such, is at its own risk.

 

Digital currency bitcoin sold at $1000 in January 2017 and hit an all-time high of more than $19000 in December.

 

Currently, the price of bitcoin has been stagnated in the last two weeks and financial experts around the world continue to discourage investors.

 

Experts however said that Bitcoin’s price is not a reflection of its growing usage as currency; it reflects merely demand for the mirage of its speculative value.

 

Its price is rising only because people all over the world are hearing stories of how others doubled or tripled their money in a short period — and they don’t want to miss out. Unsophisticated investors are taking out loans to buy bitcoins. Those who have spent the currency feel remorseful when they see its price subsequently increase, so they hoard it.

 

Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group to be a digital currency. It allows money to be transferred directly between individuals using cryptography. The bank ledger is distributed to all users, and complex mathematical transactions ensure transaction integrity. Such a system makes it difficult for governments to know the identities of people exchanging money, so it has become a haven for money laundering, drug dealing, and corruption.

 

Beyond its usability for crime, bitcoin has major design flaws.

 

Bitcoins are created (or “mined”) at predetermined and gradually decreasing rates, with a total limit of 21 million issuable coins. The rate of increase in available bitcoins is not keeping pace with the number of people keen to buy them, so the price of a bitcoin keeps increasing. Because its price increases, both its “miners,” whose computers do complex calculations to earn the currency, and those who buy bitcoins from others feel reluctant to use them as currency by spending them. Instead, they sit on their coins while they wait for the price to rise further. With bitcoin supply constrained and increasingly falling short of demand, instead of functioning as a currency, bitcoin is a speculative empty asset.

 

Then, there are problems with the technology itself.

 

First, anyone who has access to a bitcoin password (or private key) has the authority to spend the bitcoins it unlocks; loss of the password means loss of all of the associated bitcoins, with no recourse. Second, linear growth in the chain of blocks that make up bitcoin is resulting in exponential growth in the computation necessary to process and verify transactions: Transactions that used to take 10 minutes now take hours. Third, with bitcoin transaction fees hovering above $25, a $5 payment now costs $30. This obviously is not a workable digital currency.

 

What is most worrisome for the planet is the energy expenditure that verifying transactions now requires. The bitcoin network is reportedly consuming energy at an annual rate of 32TWh — about as much as the entire nation of Denmark. Each transaction consumes 250kWh, enough energy to power an average Western home for nine days. China has become the dominant bitcoin-mining nation, with its provinces providing ultra-cheap energy to miners.

 

Digital currencies surely are the future, but other options make more sense than bitcoin. Take China’s WeChat Pay and Alipay, which now process $5.5 trillion of payments. Or India’s Unified Payments Interface, which makes it possible to transfer money between people within seconds — for no fee. This occurs bank to bank, provides customer support and security, and has little overhead. So there are better and simpler ways.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

E-Financial

Nigerian Farmers Log on for Cash in Hi-Tech Networks

Published

on

It looked like the end had arrived for Adewale Fatai’s chicken farm. Money was running out.

 

Built to house 30,000 chickens, the farm was producing fewer than 2,000 chicks. His family had no funds to lend, and Nigeria’s banks weren’t interested.

 

Instead, he went online.

 

Two years later, Fatai now has 20,000 chickens. Flanked by thousands of chirping birds at his farm in Nigeria’s southwestern Ogun state, Fatai told Reuters that his operation was saved by Farmcrowdy, one of a breed of new peer-to-peer lending companies aiming to match farmers with small investors.

 

Farmcrowdy uses videos and photographs to show off farms to prospective investors, willing to tie up a bit of cash until harvest time and collect a small return.

 

Onyeka Akumah, co-founder and CEO, Farmcrowdy said the company has so far helped 7,000 small-scale farmers receive a total of $6 million from 2,000 investors since it launched two years ago. He said 95 percent of investment comes from within Nigeria.

 

The typical investment starts from around 90,000 naira – $300 – too little to interest many banks but enough to help keep a small farm going until harvest.

Onyeka Akumah, co-founder and CEO, Farmcrowdy

Since taking office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari has said he aims to revitalize the agriculture sector in Africa’s most populous nation to reduce the OPEC member’s reliance on oil exports and cut down on costly food imports.

 

But local farmers face multiple challenges – from floods, to a lack of electricity to regulate irrigation, to fighting with semi-nomadic cattle herdsmen that has claimed hundreds of lives this year. Most of the tens of millions of farmers work on a subsistence basis and live on less than $2 a day.

 

Farmers complain that they lack the access to affordable loans needed to cover their costs until harvest time.

 

Farmcrowdy and another firm, Thrive Agric, allow investors to choose a farm on the internet and decide how much to invest. They advertise returns of around 12-20 percent for investments in soybeans, maize, tomatoes, poultry and cattle. Investors buy a funding stake and are kept updated on the progress of crops.

 

“One of the primary problems we were trying to solve was solving the problem of access to funds for farmers: giving them the right expertise for them to grow and also linking them to markets,” said Uka Eje, CEO of Thrive Agric, at his office in Abuja.

 

He said some $2.7 million had been raised by 1,670 investors for nearly 10,000 farmers since the company’s launched in 2017. His company provides farmer clients with expertise as well as fundraising, he said.

Continue Reading

E-Financial

Cyber Thieves Raid Banks, Inflict Losses

Published

on

Nigerian financial system has been jolted by a lethal development; and that is the growing activities of cyber criminals who work in and outside the system.

 

Website cloing, Identity fraud and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) scams, are now so rampant that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), banks, switching companies, the police and users are having sleepless nights.

 

In 2017, Nigeria was estimated to have lost about $450 million to cybercrimes.

 

The most common today is the fake bank alerts scam which is growing in scope and leaving in its losses in its wake.

 

In this scam, fraudsters pose as potential buyers of goods or services provided by the bank customer and after both parties have agreed on a price, send fake SMS’s indicating they have deposited money into the sellers’ account.

 

The criminals usually count on their target, believing the SMS is real and would not bother to confirm with his/her bank before releasing the goods.

 

There is also website cloning scam where websites of genuine financial institutions are cloned are the scammers using what is known as phishing, the criminals send fraudulent SMSes and emails to victims directing them fake Web sites where they are asked to input sensitive data.

 

In the emails, the criminals had attachments that, when clicked, secretly install “spyware” that can capture personal information and send it to third parties over the Internet.

 

With the information supplied by victims, the criminals successfully broke into the victims’ bank accounts leaving tales of woes and losses.

 

Though the financial institutions are mostly affected by cybercrimes, all other sectors are culpable and assured Nigerians that financial institutions are strictly compelled to adhere to CBN regulations to secure online financial transactions.

Emefiele, CBN Gov.

The CBN, said it is working on modalities for new regulations to stem the rising losses that emanate from cybercrime and technology risk in the financial sector.

 

Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, deputy governor, CBN, said that “There is compelling need to redesign regulations that will address risk that may emanate from the new emerging and increasing modern class of financial firms.”

 

Elsewhere, electronic transaction switching and payment processing companies are building more security layers on top of existing ones to check the activities of the fraudsters.

 

The Police on the other hand said that that the development was being monitored and that the Commission is inviting useful information that would help burst the crime.

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

E-Financial

Renmoney Emerges Winner Of Microfinance Excellence Award

Published

on

(R - L) Yetunde Faulkner, Head of Commercial, Renmoney, receiving Renmoney’s ‘Award for Excellence in Microfinance' from Mohammed Dabai Suleyman, Director, FSS 2020, Central Bank of Nigeria, while Folasade Femi-Lawal, Head, Card Business, First Bank, looks on; at the New Age Banking Summit held in Lagos, recently.

Renmoney, a Nigerian consumer lending company, has emerged the winner of the ‘Award for Excellence in Microfinance Banking’.

 

The award was presented at the 8th edition of the New Age Banking Summit which held at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island.

 

Other winners of the evening were: GTBank, Diamond Bank, First Bank, First City Monument Bank, Union Bank and Wema Bank.

 

Receiving the award, Yetunde Faulkner, Head of Commercial at Renmoney, said: “We’ve been working really hard to build more convenient lending solutions for Nigerians so this award will be a huge morale boost for our team!” Yetunde added, “We launched our online loan application process this year to provide loans in under 24 hours and we are looking forward to launching even better solutions in 2019”.

 

For Anisha Ajimani of the UMS Conference, the organisers of the event, Renmoney was an obvious choice for the award because of the company’s focus on technology and customer experience.

 

She said: “The New Age Banking Awards are aimed at honouring organizations that have consistently demonstrated exemplary performance. These will not just recognize the endeavours of the most successful financial organizations, but will also set a benchmark, inspiring other organizations to achieve their own goals”.

 

The theme of the two-day event was ‘Staying Relevant in the Changing Financial Landscape of Nigeria’.

 

It was attended by a wide array of industry experts comprising Chief Information Officers of financial institutions in Nigeria, speaking on various developments and challenges in the digital banking and fintech space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Communication Week Media Limited.