This week seven individuals were arrested for running illegal bitcoin exchange operations in Nepal. According to Nepal’s Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), the suspects were trading bitcoins without authorization and the agency’s Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Jeevan Kumar Shrestha says this is one of the first cryptocurrency arrests of this magnitude.
The communist government of Nepal is not very friendly towards cryptocurrencies just yet, because Nepalese officials are in the midst of discussing regulatory guidelines. On October 6, 2017, a task-force from the CIB arrested seven suspects allegedly involved with running “bitcoin exchange” operations. The CIB explains that the operators violated the order of the National Bank of Nepal that stated until regulations are conceived bitcoin, and other cryptocurrency exchange businesses are “illegal.”
The CIB’s statement details that the suspects lived in the Kathmandu and Chitwan region. DSP Jeevan Kumar Shrestha has told the local press that this is the first incident the bureau has dealt with concerning illegal bitcoin transmissions. “[The suspects] have been kept in police custody,” details Shrestha. “The traded amount will be discovered after further investigation.” However, the DSP did detail the charged suspects are facing fines and a jail-term of roughly three years.
Nepalese Bitcoin Exchange Bitsewa Closes Operations This Week
This summer news.Bitcoin.com reported on Nepal’s government talking about regulating virtual currencies like bitcoin in the near future. Nepal’s leaders have been researching virtual currencies for quite some time, and there have been reports of bitcoin operations being deemed “illegal” in Nepal throughout the years. Presently, the country does have a Nepalese Localbitcoins mirror site, but has only two buyers and no individuals selling.
Further, the Nepal-based bitcoin trading platform, Bitsewa, has closed its services this week due to the currency’s legality issues in the region.
“Nepal Rastra Bank officially declared Bitcoin illegal in Nepal taking strict measures — We worked very hard to bring this revolutionary technology to Nepal, but it turns out our government have a very different plan altogether and doesn’t want this technology in the hands of Nepalese citizen,” Bitsewa announces this week.
Bitcoin is flourishing in countries like Japan, Korea, India, U.S. and others. While we live in a country where Bitcoin is labeled “Illegal” and seen as a threat to the economy.
Nepal Officials Have Been Discussing Bitcoin Regulation
Just recently, Krishna Bahadur Mahara the Finance Minister of Nepal had stated during a 2017-2018 budget speech, that if virtual currencies are to be regulated the Nepalese government will monitor users. Currently, the situation for both bitcoin enthusiasts and cryptocurrency businesses trying to operate in Nepal looks grim; at least until the government reveals its regulatory guidelines.