The Indonesian government’s recent crackdown on cryptocurrency payments for goods and services in Bali has sparked mixed reactions among tourists. The governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, has made it clear to visitors that the Indonesian rupiah is the only legal currency in this country and that those who use cryptos could be facing serious consequences, including deportation, criminal penalties, administrative sanctions or possible closure of businesses accepting crypto.
The ban on crypto payments has elicited a range of responses from the global crypto community. Some citizens believe that this ban is a reasonable measure to protect the country’s economy, while others are disappointed and reconsidering their vacation plans.
One Reddit user has suggested that it is for businesses and consumers to choose the payment method. In their view, if both parties are prepared to take the risk of using cryptocurrencies, they should be allowed to carry out transactions.
On the other hand, another Redditor believes Indonesia’s ban is a sensible step. According to this perspective, the country relies on tourism to support its currency, allowing it to maintain its value. Despite understanding the reasons behind the ban, this Redditor still disagrees with it.
While there is disagreement about the ban, some people have come forward to defend Indonesia. One Redditor argues that the country merely protects its revenues and explains that taxes can only be effective if there are appropriate rules in place. According to Community members, Indonesia does not have such legislation and considers the tourism sector as a significant source of revenue that must be protected.
Tourism plays a vital role in Bali’s economy, contributing to almost 28% of the region’s income. This will lead to job opportunities for local people and stimulate economic growth. A reduction in tourism visits to Bali would have a major negative impact on the local economy.
The seriousness of the Indonesian government’s approach to this issue is reflected in Governor Wayan Koster’s warning to tourists using cryptocurrencies. The use of crypto for payments is punishable by heavy penalties in addition to prison time, even though such transactions are legal in the country.
The Bali government’s move to crack down on crypto payments is consistent with the general stance taken in this area. Governor Koster, in a press conference attended by Bali’s chief police inspector and the head of the Bali Representative Office for Bank Indonesia, emphasized that Indonesia’s fiat currency, the rupiah, is the only legal tender.
Recent investigative reports revealed that businesses in Bali, including meditation workshops, bicycle rentals and crypto cafes accepting payments, had been uncovered. Despite these findings, Bali’s Governor has not changed his stance on crypto payments.
The interesting thing is that Indonesia continues to pursue plans for the establishment of a national bitcoin exchange, even though it remains very cautious in regard to crypto payments. The Ministry of Trade will reportedly act as a custodian and clearing house for local cryptocurrency markets. The potential shift in the country’s position towards cryptocurrencies, although limited to trading rather than payments, is indicated by this initiative originally scheduled for completion at the end of 2022 but delayed.
As the debate over cryptocurrency regulations continues globally, the Bali government’s crackdown on tourists using crypto payments highlights the tension between the desire to protect the local economy and the growing popularity and adoption of cryptocurrencies by individuals and businesses. The future of cryptocurrencies and their integration with the existing financial systems will be affected by the outcome of this current struggle.
Tourists are unhappy with the crypto payments ban in Bali – Cointelegraph. (n.d.-b). https://cointelegraph.com/news/bali-crypto-payments-ban-triggers-backlash-from-community
‘dealt with firmly’ — Bali governor issues warning to tourists using crypto. (n.d.-a). https://cointelegraph.com/news/bali-governor-warns-on-crypto-payments