Government of Bali warns foreign tourists against using crypto for local transactions

The government of Bali has issued a warning to foreign tourists coming to Bali against using cryptocurrency as a form of payment during their stay in the Indonesian province.

Tourists who violate this warning risk tough sanctions from the government and could face deportation and criminal prosecution.

Speaking at a tourism development press conference on Sunday, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said foreign tourists who flout the rules and provisions of the province by carrying out activities that are not permitted in their visa permit, including the use of crypto as a means of payment, will be “dealt with firmly”.

Koster reiterated that the Indonesian rupiah was the only legal tender permitted as a local means of payment in Bali. The use of any other currency was against Indonesia’s law, and violators could face one-year imprisonment along with the payment of a fine of up to 200 million rupiahs ($13,000).

The Governor’s warning comes amid reports about a government plan to implement a quota system to limit the number of foreign tourists entering Bali in order to reduce the influx of foreigners who violate local rules.

Bali’s tourism sector, which peaked in 2019, experienced a nosedive in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing the island to shut down international flights, thereby heavily restricting foreign tourists into the island.

While the tourist hotspot has since reopened its borders, the province stated that there has been a surge in inappropriate behavior from tourists, a situation which is a growing source of discomfort for locals and the government.

The Head of the Bank of Indonesia for Bali, Trisno Nugroho, also commented on the government’s warning, saying that while crypto was acceptable in the province, its use for payment was not.

Previously, Bank of Indonesia had warned financial institutions against permitting and ratifying cryptocurrency payments.

Governor Koster also stated that foreign exchange business activities can only occur with permission from Indonesia’s central bank, warning that business people who operate without a license could attract a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of 22 billion rupiahs ($1.4 million).

Defaulters of government rules will be sanctioned in the form of written reprimands, requirements to pay fines, as well as bans from payment transactions.

Umar Ali
As editor in chief, I am always on the road, searching for hidden gems, undiscovered waterfalls, enticing hikes to explore, underrated delis, and more. Crafting compelling content that captures the true essence of each place is my passion. With years of experience in travel journalism, I strive to provide unbiased and factual content based on my real-life experiences. When I'm not out exploring, you can find me delving into local markets and devouring new foods, immersing myself in the cultures and communities that make each destination unique. It might sound like a tough job, but I love it!

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