“Bali Issues Warning to Foreign Tourists Against Making Bitcoin Payments”


On Sunday, Wayan Koster, the governor of Bali, warned tourists against using cryptocurrency to pay for their stay in the island, as it is illegal in Indonesia and violators can face up to one year in prison or a fine. This statement came after several news reports suggested that certain tourist destinations in Bali are accepting cryptocurrencies as payment.

“Foreign tourists who behave rowdily, conduct activities that are not within the limits of their visa, use cryptocurrencies for payments or violate any laws will be sanctioned. They could be deported, receive a warning or even be charged with criminal offenses under the Criminal Code,” Koster said.

In 2011, the Currency Law was established in Indonesia, prohibiting the use of other currencies than rupiah and punishing violations with up to a year in jail or a fine of up to 200 million rupiah ($13,356). Last week, Kompas.id reported that international tourists in Bali are using cryptocurrency as a payment method due to the economic sanctions imposed on certain countries, making it difficult for them to conduct financial transactions.

Koster urged local businesses not to accept cryptocurrency payments from tourists. “Do not tolerate tourists who do not respect the laws of Indonesia or the local customs [in Bali].”

The Bali Police also launched an investigation into the use and acceptance of cryptocurrency on the island. “We are now investigating several places that are suspected of secretly accepting cryptocurrency payments. So far, there are five places, but there could be more,” said Bali Police Insp. Gen. Putu Jayan Danu Putra during the same Sunday Press Conference.

Bank Indonesia’s (BI) Bali office head, Trisno Nugroho, stressed that the rupiah is the only currency that should be used for cash and non-cash transactions in Indonesia and the central bank has guaranteed access to the rupiah. “We have provided access to the rupiah through money changers in Bali. There are at least 138 [licensed] money changers across the province, with a total of more than 500 branches,” he said.

BI is now working with the Bali Police to investigate the businesses that are accepting cryptocurrency payments. “As an asset, cryptocurrency is allowed to be traded in Indonesia as we have Bappebti to monitor it. However, the use of cryptocurrencies for payments is banned as we only recognize the rupiah as the only currency for making payments,” Trisno said, referring the Trade Ministry’s Futures Exchange Supervisory Board.

After allegations that foreign tourists are violating traffic laws and local customs, the Indonesian government plans to prohibit international tourists from renting motorcycles. The administration is also punishing international tourists who violated the rules.

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