Nepal regulator orders ISPs to block crypto websites or face the law

Nepal’s telecommunications regulator has ordered the country’s internet service providers (ISPs) to block all cryptocurrency trading websites, threatening legal action against those that fail to comply.

In a Jan. 8 notice, the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) ordered ISPs and email service providers to prevent access to “websites, apps or online networks” related to crypto.

It stated that virtual currency transactions “are increasing in recent days [translated]” and reiterated that crypto transactions in the country are illegal.

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the country’s central bank, declared crypto trading and mining illegal in a Sept. 2021 notice. “Encouraging” others to use crypto is also an activity punishable by law.

In Apr. 2022, the NTA issued a similar caution notice regarding crypto websites asking the public to notify the regulator if they have information “related to the name of such website, app or online network.”

In the April notice, it also threatened legal action if “anyone is found to have done or been doing” crypto-related activities, but did not call for a block on access to crypto services at the time.

Related: Bank of India report calls for regulatory coordination on crypto market challenges

However, despite crypto being outlawed in the country, a Sep. 2022 report by blockchain data firm Chainalysis revealed emerging markets, inclusive of Nepal, are at the forefront of global crypto adoption.

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Nepal’s crypto adoption placed it in the global top 20, ranked 16th overall above the United Kingdom.

Nepal is included on a list of just nine countries that have outright banned cryptocurrencies, according to data from the Law Library of Congress in a Nov. 2021 report. 

Other countries include China, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Qatar and Tunisia.

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