25. May 2024

Crypto Payments in Bali Draw Firm Warnings from Governor

• Bali’s Government is cracking down on tourists paying for goods and services with cryptocurrency, warning those who do of hefty penalties including jail time.
• Cryptocurrency trading is legal in Indonesia, but using crypto for payments carries a maximum potential sentence of one year in prison and a fine of 200 million rupiah ($13,000).
• Indonesia is looking to roll out a national cryptocurrency exchange by next month, with the Ministry of Trade acting as custodian and clearing house.

Bali Governor Issues Warning to Tourists Trading Crypto

Bali’s government is cracking down on tourists paying for goods and services using cryptocurrency, with the island’s governor sending a reminder that Indonesia’s fiat currency is the only legal tender.

Potential Penalties for Crypto Payments

On May 28, the government-owned news agency Antara reported that Bali Governor Wayan Koster hosted a press conference the same day and said tourists who “use crypto as a means of payment […] will be dealt with firmly.” Strict actions range from deportation, administrative sanctions, criminal penalties, closure of business premises and other tough sanctions.

Only Rupiah Accepted As Legal Tender

The meeting was attended by Bali’s chief police inspector and Trisno Nugroho, the head of the Bali Representative Office for Bank Indonesia — the country’s central bank. Nugroho reaffirmed that trading crypto is allowed but the use of crypto for payments is banned. Koster noted that Indonesia’s currency — the rupiah — is the only one that can be legally used for payments in the country. The use of other currencies carries a maximum potential sentence of one year in prison and a fine of 200 million rupiah ($13,000).

Crypto-Accepting Businesses Discovered

The Bali governor’s announcement comes days after a May 26 investigative report in Kompas, considered the country’s newspaper of record. Kompas reportedly found multiple Bali-based businesses that accepted cryptocurrency payments, including a meditation retreat, a motorbike rental business and a crypto-themed cafe.

Upcoming National Crypto Exchange

Despite the hardline stance from Bali’s governor and Indonesia overall,the country is on track to rolling out its own national cryptocurrency exchange by next month. Indonesia’s Ministry Of Trade would act as custodian and clearing house for local cryptocurrency markets.