The Bali provincial government is imposing strict penalties on foreign tourists using cryptocurrency as a means of payment in hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, and other establishments. Bali Governor Wayan Koster warned that foreign tourists who use crypto as a payment method will face firm action including deportation, administrative sanctions, criminal penalties, closure of business premises, and other tough sanctions.
Ban on Using Cryptocurrencies in Bali
Koster clarified that using cryptocurrencies or any currencies other than the Indonesian rupiah as a payment method is prohibited under Law No. 7 of 2011 on Currency. Individuals who use currencies other than the rupiah face penalties of up to one year of imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rp200 million (US$13,300).
In addition, individuals engaged in foreign exchange business activities without proper authorization from Bank Indonesia may face penalties ranging from one to five years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rp22 billion (US$1.4 million). Bank Indonesia Regulation No. 17/3/PBI/2015 requires the use of the rupiah within Indonesian territory, and violations will lead to administrative sanctions in the form of written reprimands, fines, and prohibitions from payment transactions.
However, it’s worth noting that Trisno Nugroho, head of Bank Indonesia’s Bali province representative office, clarified that crypto as an asset is allowed. This means that individuals can still buy and sell cryptocurrency in Bali but cannot use it as a means of payment.
The Rationale Behind the Ban
The government’s move to ban cryptocurrencies can be traced back to its concerns over money laundering and terrorism financing activities. Cryptocurrencies, being decentralized, are outside the control of central banks and governments, making them appealing to criminals due to their ease of anonymity.
Overall, the Bali provincial government’s efforts to clamp down on the use of cryptocurrencies by foreign tourists are part of a broader push by governments globally towards regulating cryptocurrencies to prevent criminal activities.