Nepal’s Telecom Regulator Issues Notice Ordering ISPs to ban crypto websites

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Key Takeaways

  • NTA has prohibited ISPs and email service providers from providing access to “websites, apps or online networks” related to crypto
  • Cryptocurrency transaction, crypto trading, and mining is deemed unlawful and illegal in Nepal.

While countries around the world are trying to integrate crypto more into their economy, Nepal has now taken a rather anti-crypto stance. Nepal’s telecommunications regulator, called the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA), has now ordered internet service providers (ISPs) in the country to block all crypto trading websites.

As per the official notice, people who fail to comply with the latest regulation will face legal action. NTA’s latest regulation prohibits ISPs and email service providers from providing access to “websites, apps or online networks” related to cryptocurrency/digital assets.

“The ISPs are directed to deactivate the accessibility to manage and use the website, apps, and online networks related to the financial crime,” reads the official NTA notice. In April last year, the NTA had issued a similar caution notice. Reportedly, the country’s ISPs have been ignoring the guidelines of the regulator.

The country’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology reportedly told the NTA that the trading of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, has increased economic crime in the country.

Nepal has always had a hostile stance toward digital assets. In 2017, the country’s central bank-The Nepal Rastra Bank, declared Bitcoin illegal. Last year, the Nepal Rashtra Bank (NRB) issued a caution notice terming any transaction of cryptocurrency unlawful.

NRB had cited increased fraud risk and illegal outflow of domestic capital as the key reasons. In its public notice, NRB also warned that those who will be found involved in crypto transactions would face legal action under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 2019. NRB is currently working towards formulating a law that would determine its powers and responsibilities to issue a digital version of the country’s fiat currency-the Nepalese rupee.

Despite the stringent ban on cryptocurrency in the country, crypto usage is still spiking in Nepal. As per a September 2022 report by blockchain analytics firm, Chainalysis lower-middle-income countries, including Nepal, Kenya, and Indonesia, hold positions in the top 20 countries in terms of overall index score with regard to cryptocurrency adoption. 

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Saniya Raahath
Saniya Raahath

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