The Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA), the country's telecommunications regulator, ordered local internet providers to block all crypto-related websites. Companies that fail to comply risk facing legal action. The notification released on January 8 obliges ISPs to prevent access to "websites, apps or online networks" dealing with cryptocurrencies.
According to the announcement, virtual currency transactions have been "increasing in recent days," which is against Nepalese law. In September 2021, the country's central bank, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), banned several crypto-related activities, including trading, mining, and "encouraging" others to use cryptocurrencies.
NTA also took steps against cryptocurrencies before. In April 2022, it issued a cautionary notice reminding that crypto activities are illegal in Nepal and prompting internet users to snitch on online services dealing with crypto. Moreover, it warned of legal action to people engaging in crypto-related activities: "If anyone is found to be doing or have done such activities, action will be taken according to the prevailing law." However, it did not call for an ISP block on access to crypto services at the time.
So far, many Nepalese have opposed government anti-crypto policies and readily embraced virtual currencies. The country ranked sixteenth in Chainanalysis' 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index Top 20. The NTA-ordered blocks to be imposed by ISPs may significantly hinder the further growth of crypto use in Nepal.
Nepal is one of just nine countries that have entirely banned cryptocurrencies, with the others being Algeria, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Qatar, and Tunisia.