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Nepal orders internet providers to block BTC-related websites

Nepal’s crackdown on digital currencies is intensifying, with the latest target being internet service providers (ISPs). The country’s telecommunications regulator recently ordered ISPs to block all BTC-related content.

Nepal is one of nine countries in the world to outrightly ban digital assets, according to the Law Library of Congress, alongside China, Bangladesh, Qatar, and Algeria. Regulators have stepped up their anti-BTC efforts in the past year, with the central bank, the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), leading the charge.

The Nepal Telecommunications Authority has joined the fray. The regulator recently issued a notice to all ISPs and email services providers, ordering them to block any website or app that carries content related to digital assets.

According to the agency’s notice, digital asset transactions have been increasing recently, necessitating extra measures by regulators to crack down on the sector. The agency also reiterated that digital assets are illegal in the South Asian nation.

The latest notice is a follow-up from the agency’s warning in April 2022 in which it pledged to “prohibit, disable, and blacklist” all media related to BTC. It also called on members of the public to report any website distributing related virtual currencies. The agency also threatened legal action against anyone indulging in BTC-related activities.

An official at the agency revealed last year that it had been directed by the country’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to crack down on digital assets, which were said to be behind the increase in economic crime in the country.

The ban stretches back to September 2021, when the country’s central bank declared digital asset trading and mining illegal.

Despite the ban, Nepal remains one of the world’s biggest digital asset adopters. According to a Chainalysis report, the country ranks 16th for adoption globally, ranking ahead of the United Kingdom, Kenya, and Indonesia.

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