Bali Bans Bitcoin Payments In Crypto Crackdown Targeting Foreign Tourists

Bali Bans Bitcoin Payments In Crypto Crackdown Targeting Foreign Tourists

While crypto trading is still legal in Indonesia, local authorities in Bali have warned that international tourists who use cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to make payments will be “dealt with firmly”.

Bali Forbids Crypto Payments

On May 28, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said during a tourism development press conference that visitors who pay with crypto will be subject to punishments such as deportation, criminal penalties, and administrative sanctions.

“Foreign tourists who behave inappropriately, do activities that are not allowed in their visa permit, use crypto as a means of payment and violate other provisions will be dealt with firmly,” the leader of the popular island vacation destination in the Indonesian archipelago stated.

Additionally, businesses caught accepting cryptocurrency payments will also be punished and forced to shut down.

Koster stressed that all transactions carried out in Bali must be settled in Indonesia’s currency — the rupiah. The use of other currencies for payments carries a maximum potential sentence of one year behind bars and a fine of as much as 200 million rupiah (equivalent to $13,000 USD).


Indonesia’s Upcoming National Crypto Exchange

Trisno Nugroho, the head of the Bali Representative Office for Bank Indonesia — the nation’s central bank — reiterated during the Sunday meeting that crypto trading is allowed in the country, but its use as a means of payment is illegal.

The announcement is the latest in a slew of efforts to clamp down on unacceptable tourist behaviour on the island. Notably, tourism is a major contributor to Bali’s economy. Research indicates that tourism accounts for nearly 28% of Bali’s income. The island suffered a big blow from COVID-19 travel restrictions. Yet, banning crypto payments for goods and services by tourists will likely lead to a drop in income as some are already reconsidering their plans to visit Bali.

Despite the staunch stance from Bali’s governor and Indonesia, the country is on the path to launching a national crypto stock exchange by next month. The Indonesian government initially planned to roll out the crypto bourse by 2021-end but encountered multiple delays.