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After accusing the cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato of providing funding for a “high-tech nexus of crypto crime,” authorities seized the business and detained the company’s co-founder.

Russian national Anatoly Legkodymov, living in China then, was charged with running a business catered to “crooks” by the US Department of Justice.

They said that Bitzlato handled almost $700m (£567m) in illegal funds, violating regulations to prevent money laundering.


Mr Legkodymov was apprehended in Florida’s Sunshine State capital of Miami.

At a press conference on Wednesday, US Attorney Breon Peace announced the arrest, saying, “Institutions that trade in Cryptocurrency are not above the law and their owners are not beyond our reach.”

“As alleged, Bitzlato sold itself to criminals as a no-questions-asked cryptocurrency exchange and reaped hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of deposits as a result. The defendant is now paying the price for the malign role that his company played in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.”

The complaint states that since 2018, the Hong Kong-based exchange has handled bitcoin transactions totalling around $4.5bn.

Prosecutors claimed the company was a “haven for criminal proceeds and funds intended for use in criminal activity” since it required minimal user identification.

In support of their claims, they cited an internal document that identified Bitzlato as handling “dirty money” without regular customer-vetting procedures, suggesting that the company was aware of the problems.

Hydra Market was a dark web marketplace for drugs, money laundering, and stolen financial information that was taken down last year by international authorities.

Prosecutors believe Bitzlato did “substantial” business with Americans, despite the company’s claims that it did not accept customers from the United States.

The US government coordinated with French and international police to carry out the operation.

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said that Nigeria has achieved 100% broadband coverage following the licensing and operation of SpaceX’s Starlink.

The Minister stated this while presenting the scorecard of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the ICT sector.

According to him, through the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025) Nigeria was targeting 90% broadband coverage by the year 2025. He said this has been achieved ahead of time through the licensing of Starlink as Nigerians can now have access to high-speed internet from any part of the country.

While noting that the country has now achieved its target before the deadline in the plan, Pantami said:

  • “Based on the National Broadband Plan, we were to have 90% broadband coverage by December 2025. However, we recently gave a license to Starlink to provide services and this has given us 100% coverage, about 3 years ahead of schedule.”

Broadband plan: Counting the development of the broadband plan as one of the achievements of the present government, Pantami said:

  • As of August 2019, Nigeria had no valid Broadband Plan; the previous one expired in 2018 (one-year vacuum). I set up a committee of stakeholder experts to draft a new Plan. The Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) was graciously unveiled and launched by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 19th of March, 2020. 
  • The Plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population by 2025 at a price, of not more than N390 per 1GB of data (i.e. 2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage).”

Starlink is not for all: Although Starlink has commenced operation in Nigeria with a few Nigerians who pre-ordered its hardware now active on the network, its current pricing shows that Starlink’s broadband service is not meant for the masses.

Aside from the hardware, which costs $600, subscriptions for the service costs $43 a month according to information provided by Starlink.

Starlink’s internet service is accessible from any part of the country. While this is expected to bridge the connectivity gap in rural Nigeria, where the other network operators could not deploy their services, the issue of cost may prevent many Nigerians from accessing Starlink.

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Starting from March 2023, Netflix will implement a policy that prevents members from sharing their account credentials with anyone outside their immediate home.

The streaming service released a statement detailing its intentions to limit password sharing from March.

”Netflix is planning to ban all password sharing by March 2023. The company expects to make around $720 Million from the change.”

In the past, people have shared their Netflix accounts with friends, coworkers, and family members to watch the latest movies and TV shows together. However, this practice will become obsolete now that Netflix allows up to four people to share an account.

As of March 2023, the streaming service intends to provide paid sharing.

Netflix is a video-on-demand service that allows users to watch a wide variety of award-winning television episodes, films, animation, documentaries, and more on a plethora of available electronic devices.

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* Initiative will drive smart city project in Lagos, says Sanwo-Olu

Mafab Communications Limited yesterday launch its 5G network in Lagos and assured Nigerians of super high speed internet connectivity for data service as well as seamless voice service.

The telecom company had a similar launch in Abuja, on Tuesday, with a promise to have a gradual launch in all cities of Nigeria.
Mafab, alongside with MTN, won 5G Licence in December 2021, and the company was expected to roll-out its 5G services, but deferred its rollout plan till 2023.
Speaking at the Lagos launch yesterday, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the State Commissioner of Science and Technology, Mr. Hakeem Fahm, said Mafab’s 5G launch would further enhance the smart city projects embarked upon by the state government.

According to the governor, “The historic launch of the Mafab Communications Limited 5G Network, marks another important milestone in our nation’s technology and telecommunications journey.

“For us in the Lagos State government, this launch will bring us even closer to realising our dream of becoming a smart city.
“Though relatively new in the telecommunications industry, Mafab Communications Limited has recorded a milestone achievement in the tech space through the launch of the 5G network.

“I want to commend the management of Mafab Communications for working hard to deliver this next level technology that out guns the 4G network by a very wide margin and as such its capabilities exceeds expectations,” Sanwo-Olu said.

“The telecommunications industry has been a significant economic driver for Lagos State in particular and Nigeria as a whole, contributing more than $70 billion and helping to create over half a million jobs. The prospects of what we can accomplish with the 5G network, which is next level technology, fills me with high hopes for the future of the different sectors of our economy, most especially the security sector,” Sanwo-Olu further said.

In his welcome address, the Chairman, Mafab Communications, Dr. Mushabu Bashir, said the company would play a major role in advancing new technologies that would push Nigeria beyond just being a consumer of technology, but a country playing an active role in developing and implementing new technologies.
“It will also enable our country take its position as a global technology hub in Africa and the world at large.

“Our plans are quite ambitious and realistic. With the initial rollout in six cities, Abuja, Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Kaduna, Kano and Enugu, Mcom plans rollout additional sites and cities across the country,” Bashir said.  

The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented at the Lagos launch by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at NCC, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, said 5G would usher in lots of opportunities for Nigerians and the service providers, and commended Mafab for keeping to its rollout promise, after getting an extension for 5G network rollout.

Fielding questions from journalists, the spokesperson at Mafab, Mr. Adebayo Adebanjo said Mafab would offer voice and data services from day one of its rollout. “Mafab is relatively new, but will ride on an existing telecom company to roll out its services to Nigerians on the 5G infrastructure. We have identified the market for our rollout plan and we will continue to expand as the market grows,” Adebanjo said.

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