Virtual Currency Investigation Workshop, Lusaka, Zambia.

AGA-Africa in collaboration with the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) and the Central Bank of Zambia organized a three-day Virtual Currency Investigation workshop on April 8th – 10th , 2019 at the Bank Auditorium in Lusaka, Zambia.

The workshop brought together participants from the Bank of Zambia, Drug Enforcement Commission, National Prosecution Authority, Anti-Corruption Commission, Financial Intelligence Center and Zambia Police.

The workshop was officially opened by Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu, Bank of Zambia’s Deputy Governor for Operations. He lauded AGA-Africa for partnering with the BoZ to help deepen the central banks’ understanding of what cryptocurrencies are and what they are not.

“Ignorance surrounding cryptocurrency unfortunately is not the special preserve of the general public because it finds its place even among those of us who are charged with the responsibility of regulating the financial landscape or fighting crime which may have its origins in the use or misuse of virtual currencies.”

In his opening remarks, Markus Green ESQ, AGA-Africa Board Member gave a brief history of AGA-Africa and its partnership with the Republic of Zambia through the office of Attorney General in building capacity in law enforcement agencies to curb transnational crimes which include fraud in cryptocurrency. He appealed to the participants to use the expertise of the facilitators in building their knowledge of Virtual Currency crimes that are present on the Zambian financial market.

David Tonini, Assistant US Attorney, District of Colorado facilitated a session the General aspects of Virtual Currency. He noted that decentralized digital currency is not issued by a central bank or institution and that no single administrator operates via peer-to-peer transfers.

“Bitcoin was the first decentralized digital currency which is also a cryptocurrency. Digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets. Bitcoin is a digital currency, and also a cryptocurrency because it uses cryptography to control the creation and transfer of value.

Andrea Surratt- AGA, US Attorney’s office, District of Colorado facilitated a session on Money Aspect of Virtual Currency. She noted that Bitcoins can be accepted as a payment for goods and services or bought directly from an exchange with a bank account.

“Bitcoin is not “money” as people ordinarily understand that term. Bitcoin operates as a medium of exchange like cash but does not issue from or enjoy the protection of any sovereign; in fact, the whole point of Bitcoin is to escape any entanglement with sovereign governments. Bitcoins themselves are simply computer files generated through a ledger system that operates on blockchain technology.”

Judith A. Smith- AGA, Judge Denver County Court took participants through a session on Investigative Techniques of Digital Currency. She noted that packages, exchanging bitcoin for fiat currency, spending bitcoin in other ways were the main areas where crimes are. She said that officers have access to bitcoin wallets because they are open on the computer and attempts are being made to seize bitcoin by transferring them into a law enforcement wallet.