Ghana’s dealings with the cryptoverse has become a good example of why regulation in some shape or form is not only a necessity but also a requirement for any society to progress with a global shift towards crypto adoption.
According to a report by a Ghanian news outlet, “110,000 unsuspecting Ghanaians were swindled to the tune of GHC135 million in 2018 alone.” This amounts to roughly $25.71 million in crypto investment scams and hacks.
Therefore Ghanian Members of Parliament have warned citizens against crypto investments as there is a serious lack of regulation and understanding of this technology. Member of Ghana’s Juaben Town parliament, Ama Pomaa Boateng is the first to start a discussion on the issue and has sought to bring light to the problem. According to the report, the premise behind cryptos “infringes the central bank’s historically exclusive right to issue money and control money supply.”
As per Boateng’s argument, one of the major issues surrounding this epidemic was the inability to regulate online identities and bring perpetrators of the crimes forward as decentralized systems allow individuals to work anonymously. She also stressed that there was a dire need to incorporate some form of crypto based regulation in the country to avoid such attacks. In 2018, Ghana was hit with the infamous Global Coin Community Scam that led to that swindled 109,259 Ghanaians.
She added that,
“There is the issue of lack of compliance due to the nature of cryptocurrency and crypto asset because the users are anonymous and it is extremely difficult to collect data on digital currency users.”
According to Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah who is the chairman of the finance committee, Ghana’s current laws, crypto assets and their exchange is currently illegal but since this has not deterred many Ghanians from investing and dealing in cryptos, the SEC is set to introduce a new cryptocurrency law.
He added that;
“This is a digital platform where money is transferred amongst the peers. It is not the cheque system where a central bank clears it.”
However, the message of heed from the MP’s to the public means that just as before, due to the legal nature of crypto assets in the country, victims of these scams will not be given any legal help. The SEC’s Deputy General, Paul Abadio echoed this sentiment when he said, “When you choose to go there, you are on your own.”
Alternatively, however, with a regulation on the way, things don’t seem entirely bad for the crypto industry just yet as James Klutse Avedzi who is the Deputy Minority Leader and chairman of the public accounts committee has asked the government to fund cryptocurrency and market research and to involve the Bank of Ghana as an intermediary in the process.