Golam Mostafa Jibon: Despite the ban, the use of Cryptocurrencies is increasing day by day in different crime related money transactions in the country causing concern to the elite persons.
Experts said, although, the country’s laws prohibit the use of virtual currencies, money transactions related to crimes through Cryptocurrencies are on the rise. Bangladesh Bank’s Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) yesterday reported in its annual report that despite the Central Bank’s ban on Cryptocurrencies, transactions are still going on that posing threat to the economy.
According to the report, discussions are going on all over the world about digital currency. Central banks in various countries are talking about approving their own digital currency. However, Bangladesh Bank has banned Cryptocurrencies’ transactions.
The report also said that,investigation is going on to find out the involved persons. The information will provide to the law enforcers including CID. Action would be taken against the involved after investigation.
Meanwhile, it least six cases have been filed in the capital centering those allegations. The latest of these cases took place on October 11, while five people were arrested. Besides, some have faced trial in at least four cases.
The Special Public Prosecutor (PP) of Dhaka Cyber Tribunal Nazrul Islam said that, virtual currency is prohibited under the existing laws of the country. This type of transaction cannot be done through any domestic-foreign app. But many are using virtual currency-cryptocurrencies. Trial of four such cases is ongoing in Dhaka Cyber Tribunal. Despite the ban, many people are using cryptocurrency to launder money abroad.
Police have already arrested four gangs and filed a case under the Digital Security Act.
Cryptocurrency is a type of virtual currency. This currency is traded through digital wallets on the internet. Transaction information is stored in the block chain network. At the end of 2008, one or a group of software scientists named Satoshi Nakamoto, a Japanese citizen, invented this Cryptocurrency. Among the various Cryptocurrencies, the most popular is Bitcoin.
The latest notification issued by Bangladesh Bank last July states that transactions in Cryptocurrencies cannot be done. These virtual currencies are not issued by the legal authorities of any country. So, no financial claim is recognized against this currency.
According to Section 30 of the Digital Security Act, it is an offense to conduct e-transactions without lawful authority using any electronic or digital medium from any bank, insurance or other financial institution or mobile financial services institution. If this crime is proved, the maximum punishment-five years imprisonment or a fine of Tk 5 lakh can be given against the offenders.
Golam Kibria and SM Ariful Bari alias Suman were arrested by the Police Intelligence Branch (DB) from Rampura in the capital on October 10 on charges of dealing in Cryptocurrencies.
DB police said, they have been dealing with Cryptocurrencies for several years. A case has been filed under the Digital Security Act against five people in this incident.
Various details of Cryptocurrency transactions were found on the phones seized from the arrested persons. A review of mobile phone data of arrested Kibria and Suman revealed that they used 13 apps to transact virtual currency Cryptocurrencies. DB has come to know the transaction information between 2019 and 2022 on their WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Telegram. They have been seized as evidence in the case and presented in court. Information about an app used to transact Cryptocurrencies was also found on the seized phone. It can be seen there that $19,932 were traded on July 5. Another $3,610 was transacted through another app on the same day. Earlier on April 11, $11,000 dollars were traded through that app. $5,000 was transacted on May 11 in another app.
Humayan Kabir, Special Superintendent of Police in Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said, some of the Bangladeshis who live abroad are dealing withCryptocurrency. Basically, those, who come and go outside the country, are the ones, who deal in Cryptocurrency.
“However, how much it is in number is subject to investigate,” he said.
Prominent Economist Dr. Abul Barkat, Professor of Economics in Dhaka University said, “Use of Cryptocurrencies may increase criminal activities including militant financing that may cause of serious risk for the country and its economy. So, the authorities concerned should be careful about it right now with a view to stop it.”
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