Foreign tourists who pay with cryptocurrencies in Bali will be “dealt with harshly.” At a press conference on tourism development, Bali Governor Wayan Koster that visitors who pay with cryptos or violate other rules could be deported, face criminal charges, or face harsh sanctions.
“Foreign tourists who act up, engage in activities not allowed in their visa permits, use cryptocurrencies as payment and violate other regulations will be severely punished,” the head of Indonesia’s island province said, according to Channel News Asia. Indonesian law requires all transactions in Indonesia to be conducted in the local currency, the rupiah. Those using other currencies face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to 200 million rupiah ($13,300).
The regulations were initially introduced to protect the rupiah against the country’s widespread use of the U.S. dollar. In recent years, however, a new alternative has gained traction as crypto enthusiasts have been attracted to the so-called “Silicon Bali.” Last year, the Indonesian exchange Tokocrypto even set up a physical clubhouse for the crypto community in Bali.
Cryptocurrencies are allowed as an asset in Indonesia, but their use as a means of payment is not permitted. There are also restrictions on conducting foreign exchange business in the country, with those wishing to do so needing permission from Bank Indonesia.
Koster reiterated the rules at the conference, saying that violations would be punished “with administrative sanctions in the form of written reprimands, obligations to pay fines and bans on payment transactions.”
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The announcement is the latest in a series of efforts to crack down on bad behaviour by tourists on the island.
Bali, an area heavily dependent on tourism, suffered greatly from Covid-19 travel restrictions, but international visitors’ return has brought problems. Earlier this year, Koster said he planned to ban tourists from using motorcycles because of traffic violations and accidents. Disappointment has also grown over tourists who flout local traditions by posing nude at sacred sites or who work as digital nomads without securing the proper visas.