Nigerians Are Using Bitcoin to Bypass Trade Hurdles With China

Nigerians Are Using Bitcoin to Bypass Trade Hurdles With China

Aug 13, 2020 at 07:00 UTC



Author: AdminNews

Attorney Ordered to Pay $5.2M for Releasing Bitcoin Funds From Escrow

Attorney Ordered to Pay $5.2M for Releasing Bitcoin Funds From Escrow

A federal judge has ruled that a New York attorney is responsible for repaying a crypto investment firm after he prematurely released escrow funds set aside for buying $5 million in Bitcoin.

According to an Aug. 13 report on Law360, U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan confirmed that attorney Aaron Etra is on the hook for $4.6 million to the San Francisco-based investment firm Benthos Master Fund. The total judgment was for $5.255 million, plus accruing interest.

The ruling comes after Etra failed to show for an April court date in New York City confirming an arbitration session and the session itself at the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration at the Hague. The absences were instrumental in the judge ruling in the crypto investment firm’s favor.

“He has only himself to blame,” Judge Nathan stated. “Respondent failed to appear or present evidence despite receiving notice of the arbitration and despite the fact that he was clearly required to arbitrate any disputes under the Escrow Agreement.”

The agreement in question dates to 2018, when Benthos reached out to Etra to act as an escrow agent for the firm’s Bitcoin (BTC) purchases. The two signed an agreement — appropriately called the Bitcoin Agreement — with Valkyrie Group, an outfit tasked with finding third parties interested in selling their crypto holdings. 

Initially, Benthos intended to purchase $5 million in BTC — roughly 10,000 coins at the time — and deposited that amount into the escrow fund. Without seeing the approval of Benthos, Etra transferred $4.6 million of the total Bitcoin fund out of escrow over two transactions in August 2018, which never resulted in any crypto assets being sent to the firm.

After multiple motions from Benthos essentially asking Etra to stop moving money out of the fund and account for what happened to the $4.6 million, a court ruled the attorney had to produce all documents and information related to the missing funds. Etra did return the remaining $400,000 and produce records of his communications with Bitcoin sellers, so previous motions by Benthos to sanction the attorney and find him in contempt of court were denied. 

The judgement is for a total of $5.2 million plus interest. This may be a hidden blessing for Etra, who could have potentially been liable for $108 million — which is the current value of the BTC in fiat, if the sale had gone through at the time.


US Prosecutors Seize Bitcoin Allegedly Tied to Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas

US Prosecutors Seize Bitcoin Allegedly Tied to Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the “largest ever seizure of terrorist organizations’ cryptocurrency accounts” on Thursday, including “millions of dollars” and 300 crypto accounts.

In a press release Thursday, the DOJ announced it had investigated and dismantled “three terrorist financing cyber-enabled campaigns” involving al-Qaeda, Hamas and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

Legal documents filed Thursday show the DOJ is trying to seize bitcoin from 155 addresses it alleges were used by Al Qaeda to fund terrorism and arrest two individuals allegedly involved with facilitating crypto transfers for Hamas.

Related: Interactive Brokers to Pay $38M in Settlement Over AML Lapses

In a complaint for forfeiture, the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Internal Revenue Service cyber-crimes unit claim that Al Qaeda created a sophisticated money-laundering operation through a network of Telegram channels, which they used to solicit bitcoin donations intended to fund acts of terror.

“Al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups have been operating a BTC money laundering network using Telegram channels and other social media platforms to solicit BTC donations to further their terrorist goals,” the complaint read. “As described below, al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups operate a number of Telegram channels and purport to act as charities when, in fact, they are soliciting funds for the mujahadeen.”

The complaint starts with donations sent to a Telegram group called “Tawheed & Jihad Media,” which began soliciting bitcoin donations in April 2019.

Overall, the investigators found 155 different crypto addresses they claim are tied to Al Qaeda and various other organizations allegedly supporting the terrorist group.

Related: Missouri Man Pleads Guilty to Trying to Buy Chemical Weapons With Bitcoin

What future awaits cryptocurrencies?

Funds were sent to gift card exchanges and other platforms, according to the filing.

“The Defendant Properties are subject to forfeiture to the United States … as assets of a foreign terrorist organization engaged in planning or perpetrating any federal crime of terrorism,” the complaint said.

A separate affidavit in support of an arrest warrant detailed how Mehmet Akti and Hüsamettı̇n Karataş allegedly stored and transferred cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ether, XRP and EOS on behalf of al-Qassam, Hamas’ military wing.

The affidavit alleges the two violated money services business regulations and the Bank Secrecy Act.

Investigators used Chainalysis and Excygent to track bitcoin transfers from these organizations over the last 18 months.

In a blog post, Chainalysis said authorities seized more than $1 million from terror campaigns. The blog post went on to describe how the company tracked the funds, noting that many of the addresses “are hosted at various exchanges.”

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, Telegram groups were soliciting bitcoin for terrorist groups as recently as July 2020.

Leigh Cuen contributed reporting.

Read the full complaint below:

UPDATE (Aug. 13, 2020, 16:55 UTC): This article has been updated with additional information.

  • US Prosecutors Seize Bitcoin Allegedly Tied to Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas
  • US Prosecutors Seize Bitcoin Allegedly Tied to Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas


Author: Nikhilesh De

Markets.Bitcoin.Com Holds Fort as Coinmarketcap Temporarily Goes Offline | Featured Bitcoin News

Markets.Bitcoin.Com Holds Fort as Coinmarketcap Temporarily Goes Offline | Featured Bitcoin News

Markets.Bitcoin.Com Holds Fort as Coinmarketcap Temporarily Goes Offline

Coinmarketcap (CMC) temporarily went offline Thursday, August 13 and normal service only resumed some hours later, but not before inconveniencing a number of regular users. Crypto investors accustomed to CMC’s service scrambled to find reliable alternative sources of fresh market data.

During this downtime, crypto traders that are new to got a glimpse of what the platform has to offer. matches CMC on most metrics including professional Tradingview charts and Into the Block onchain data. Not only can you keep up to date with the top digital currency market caps, but there’s always a plethora of reliable crypto data available at

Why has coinmarketcap been so slow and constantly offline ever since Binance took over?

— Andy (@OpTelic) August 13, 2020 beats the competition when it comes to unique user experiences tied to onchain stats, trading and earning, and token analytics from a number of blockchains.

For instance, provides data and trading opportunities for some 500 of the top listed tokens/coins.

Investors, enthusiasts, and data geeks visiting the can seamlessly buy or trade tokens while the swapping of digital assets is also possible with the Wallet.

Therefore, CMC’s downtime only inconvenienced users that solely rely on it for crypto asset price-tracking. Additionally, visitors to also get a chance to earn with Cred, a licensed California-based lender that provides partners with turnkey crypto lending and borrowing services.

CMC, which is now owned by Binance, only recently added a very different earning feature.

Still, offers crypto investors a more comprehensive service because it is part of a larger group comprising specialized service providers.

Cryptocurrency investors visiting not only get to leverage a noncustodial crypto wallet, trade, or get up to date token data. They also get links to the hottest cryptocurrency news across the globe.

Our markets web portal is part of, the site that offers everything under the sun when it comes to this innovative and evolving digital currency ecosystem. Alongside up-to-date crypto news, also provides a peer-to-peer trading platform,, a mining pool, and an online gaming casino as well.

If you are new to crypto assets like bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin (BTC), our web portal also offers a number of educational resources and anyone can get started by gathering knowledge here.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Read disclaimer


Nigerians Are Using Bitcoin to Bypass Trade Hurdles With China

Nigerians Are Using Bitcoin to Bypass Trade Hurdles With China

Chukwuemeka Ezike sends thousands of dollars’ worth of bitcoin a month in order to trade with Chinese exporting companies.

In return, he receives spare auto parts, construction equipment, and juices for a family business his father started more than 30 years ago. Ezike works full-time at Singapore-based crypto exchange Huobi as its community manager but helps with his family’s business on the side.

He says bitcoin is faster than exchanging currencies the old-fashioned way. And he can use it to leapfrog bank limits of $10,000 a day, which he often needs to do.

Related: Bitcoin Recovers From $11.3K Despite Losses in European Stocks

Ezike doesn’t pay the manufacturer directly. Over WeChat, he works with a middleman named “Allen” who exchanges Ezike’s bitcoin for renminbi, China’s national currency, and then passes it on to the manufacturer. Ezike couldn’t divulge which companies he deals with, saying, “The Chinese are sensitive with the data that’s shared.” 

He’s one of several Nigerians using bitcoin for this purpose. Ezike even helps other Nigerian companies make similar cross-border transactions with bitcoin. 

In several ways, bitcoin makes sense for global trade. The currency jumps borders with ease, where other currencies encounter friction. If the counterparty is willing to receive bitcoin on the other end, it’s often faster and cheaper than legacy payments. But this can be a big “if” because bitcoin is a newer way of transferring money and people aren’t exactly used to it quite yet. 

While bitcoin has these nimble properties, it hasn’t disrupted international trade and value transfer just yet, especially given the currency’s current limitations. If more people use bitcoin at once, the network becomes congested and payments slow down. 

Related: Why It’s Time to Pay Attention to Mexico’s Booming Crypto Market

Behind the scenes, developers around the world are working on the Lightning Network to fix these problems so that more people, maybe one day even millions, can all use bitcoin regularly without seeing a spike in fees and sluggish transactions. 

All that said, some Nigerians are becoming reliant on using bitcoin as a way to trade internationally, and are finding bitcoin has significant benefits over legacy financial systems.

Nigerian bitcoin entrepreneur Chimezie Chuta has another theory for why some are using bitcoin for trade with China and beyond.

Like most other countries in an increasingly globalized world, Nigeria imports a significant percentage of the goods that it uses. As Chimezie Chuta put it: “Nigeria is a very import-heavy country. Food industry, drugs, you name it, construction equipment, cars.” Much of these goods are bought from Chinese manufacturers. “Nigeria’s economy is heavily import dependent and China is a major import partner to Nigeria,” Chuta adds.

If Nigerians want to reap the benefits of trade, they need to hunt down a way to exchange their naira (Nigeria’s national currency) for other currencies. In Nigeria, finding U.S. dollars or Chinese remnibi is not an easy task. “Importers typically rely on the black market for the additional FX needed and that comes at a very high price,” Chuta said. This phenomenon has been covered in Bloomberg, for instance.

With bitcoin, he can “take out all international banking routing processes,” he said. 

Others are reaching the same conclusion.

“Chinese exporters have expressed willingness to accept bitcoin payments for their goods; hence, many business people in Nigeria find it more convenient to make such payments with bitcoin for obvious reasons,” Chuta said, adding that bitcoin is speedier, open and trustless.

Entrepreneur Monyei Chinazaekpele was able to buy clothes, COVID-19 masks and tests from House of Trippy in China, to resell to customers in Nigeria.

Chinazaekpele reiterated Chuta’s and Ezike’s point that foreign exchange is tough in Nigeria. “You can’t easily switch to other currencies,” he said, adding that he’s hopeful it’s just “a matter of time” before this situation improves.

“Basically, bitcoin is stress-free to use and honestly, the naira is not a good store of value,” Chinazaekpele said, pointing to the naira’s 12% inflation rate, which means the value of the currency depreciates by that much value every year.

Bitcoin’s price fluctuates, and sometimes the price goes down. But Chinazaekpele argues that bitcoin generally doesn’t have this inflation problem because over the long term the price has been going up. 

Chinazaekpele’s also looking to buy a cashew processor with bitcoin, but he’s still working out the details with the factory, which is also located in China.

All this trade with bitcoin is happening behind the scenes. Businessmen and women on the ground aren’t exactly eager to publicize that they’re using bitcoin for international trade. For one, the legality of cryptocurrency is fuzzy in the region. 

The CBN has issued several warnings to banks. The latest in 2018 advised banks “not to use, hold or transact in any way with the technology.”

“We have had accounts frozen at some point due to bitcoin transactions,” Ezike said. “We had to appeal to re-open them.” 

He added that it’s the same situation in China, which is why the people he transacts with there “ensure they [keep] a low profile.” 

As for the relationship between the government in Nigeria and crypto, Ezike said that “they are really confused about what to do with it. But hopefully they will embrace it.”

  • Nigerians Are Using Bitcoin to Bypass Trade Hurdles With China
  • Nigerians Are Using Bitcoin to Bypass Trade Hurdles With China


Author: Alyssa Hertig

Nigerians Are Using Bitcoin to Bypass Trade Hurdles With China

Bitcoin newsBitcoin News Roundup for Aug. 13, 2020 - CoinDesk
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