February 23, 2024

Crypto payments for hotel stays, restaurant bills, and shopping centres are now strictly prohibited in Bali, Indonesia. The government there has warned all the visiting tourists against using cryptocurrencies for day-to-day transactions and purchases. A formal press conference was called for by the Bali Provincial Government to make this announcement. It was attended by Bali Police Chief Inspector General, Putu Jayan Danu Putra, and Head of Bank Indonesia (BI) — Bali Representative Office, Trisno Nugroho.

“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,” media reports quoted Wayan Koster, governor of Bali as saying.

The island, with an estimated population of 4.3 lakh, is ready to impose stringent laws to curb the unlawful usage of crypto assets.

Since cryptocurrency transactions are largely untraceable, these digital assets are often exploited by miscreants to facilitate illegal transactions to launder money and finance terror.

Bali is putting in place a bunch of punishments to deal with the violators of its crypto laws by both nationals and tourists.

Offenders could be served a deportation notice or may be brought face to face with criminal penalties. A fine of up to $13,000 (roughly Rs. 10 lakh) as well as a year-long jail sentence could be levied on the offenders, depending on the court’s decision.

Governor Koster has reiterated that Bali’s fiat currency, the rupiah, is the only legal tender there.

Vendors who accept crypto payments could also put themselves at risk of losing their operational business licences.

Bali, which depends on tourism to churn its revenue, faced economically challenging times during and after the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world.

After the world began to re-open in 2022, Bali businesses starving for revenue, opened their doors to major customer comfort which ended up including the acceptance of crypto payments.

For now, Indonesia permits the trading of crypto assets as commodities under the Ministry of Trade. The authorities of Indonesia have also instructed banks against processing crypto payments.

Citing the Ministry of Trade, CoinGecko has reported that Indonesia has over 6.5 million crypto investors.

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