Cryptocurrency Forensics and Compliance in Africa

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Cryptocurrencies are right now in a bear market, what other analysts have referred to as the crush of cryptocurrency markets with the total market capitalization according to Coin Market Cap going below $1 trillion from as high as $2.5 trillion a few months ago, and Bitcoin which is the largest cryptocurrency dropping from its all-time high of $67,000 to $20,000. The markets are bleeding and crypto investors are counting losses, particularly those that invested based on Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).

However, despite the bleeding in the market, there are still several crypto investors who believe this season will end and the markets will recover and not just to its former level but higher. One believer in cryptocurrencies posted an analysis of how bitcoin has often dropped in price but always bounced back higher. According to another bitcoin-maximalist, the fact that when you sell bitcoin on the exchanges there is always someone on the other end willing to buy means that there are people who still believe in it.

In the midst of all these conversations, there has been an increase in the levels of crimes related to cryptocurrencies. From transactions in the darknet to crypto ransom demand by hackers to money laundering, crypto-related crimes are on the rise, not just in Europe or America, but also in Africa. Over the past few weeks in Kenya there has been cases of money laundering where the culprits used bitcoin to launder millions of shillings. There are cases where individual Kenyans received funds and claimed that they were gotten from bitcoin transactions and the government had to ask the banks to freeze the funds.

The Central Bank of Kenya has cautioned the local banks to not facilitate crypto transactions or allow any cryptocurrency business to have bank accounts with them. However, Kenya has still been ranked the leading in P2P Crypto transactions meaning that Kenyans have found ways to work around the restrictions and still use their bank accounts to facilitate crypto businesses. From the perspective of the regulator, this could put banks in trouble. However, most banks do not know how to go about crypto forensics in order to ensure they uncover crypto-related transactions. This is where crypto forensics is increasingly becoming relevant in the Kenyan market.