The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has ordered private Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to websites related to cryptocurrencies and other illegal activity. The authority issued the directive on Thursday, giving private ISPs 15 days to implement the order.
The Kathmandu Post quotes the NTA’s Director General Ramesh Dhamala as saying: “We have ordered all private internet service providers to shut down social media sites and online portals related to cryptocurrency trading, gambling and other illegal activities within a week. Otherwise, we will lodge cases against them at District Courts across the country under Section 20 of Digital Security Act 2071… It is our responsibility to keep people safe from the risks associated with such sites.”
NTA spokesperson Min Prasad Aryal stated that ISPs would be liable for action under the Electronic Transactions Act if they failed to comply.
Nepal Blocks Crypto
The orders come after Nepal’s central bank banned crypto trading and investment in the country on May 26. The ban was issued by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) following an official request from the government of Nepal.
According to NRB, it had taken concerns into account over money laundering and terrorism financing risks associated with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. It also said that it would take further action against any violation of its order through appropriate legal channels.
NTA has given ISPs 15 days to implement the order. The ISPs will be liable for action under the Electronic Transactions Act if they fail to comply with the ban.
“We are asking Internet service providers to enforce it [the ban] within 15 days,” he said.
The authority had previously suspended Web access for these crypto-related sites, but has now decided to enforce the ban more thoroughly following an increase in hacking incidents and crypto fraud cases in the country.
“The Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has directed all Internet service providers to block websites offering cryptocurrency trade,” said Deputy Director General of NRB Bhakta Bahadur Karki.
The ban on the websites has been put into place due to security concerns over virtual currencies, which have not been authorized by any central banks or governments.