Bali Reminds Tourists That Paying With Crypto is Illegal

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  • The Bali government has reminded tourists that it is illegal to pay for goods and services with cryptocurrencies
  • Using anything other than the country’s rupiah currency is against Bali law, although trading crypto is legal
  • Transgressors could face up to five years in prison

The government of Bali has reminded tourists that the use of cryptocurrencies in the country is illegal and that transgressors “will be dealt with firmly.” The country has been looking for ways to control the growing problem of tourists violating local laws, and it seems that the number of visitors to the country trying to pay for items in cryptocurrency has grown to the point where the government has spoken out. Holding and trading cryptocurrencies are not illegal in the country, but using them as a method of payment is, something that visitors are seemingly unaware of.

Tough Penalties for Transgressors

The Bali Provincial Government said in a press conference on Sunday that it will crack down on foreign tourists using crypto as a means of payment, with visitors apparently trying to use digital assets as a means of payment in hotels, restaurants, tourism destinations, and shopping centers in particular.

Bali Governor Wayan Koster reminded tourists that they must act within the bounds of their visas:

Foreign tourists who behave inappropriately, do activities that are not allowed in their visa permit, use crypto as a means of payment, and violate other provisions will be dealt with firmly. Strict actions range from deportation, administrative sanctions, criminal penalties, closure of business premises, and other tough sanctions.

Up to Five Years in Prison

Koster added that those who carried out “foreign exchange business activities without permission from Bank Indonesia”, which includes paying for items in cryptocurrency, “can be punished with imprisonment for one-year minimum and five-year maximum, and a minimum fine of Rp50 million (US$3,300) and a maximum of Rp22 billion (US$1.4 million).”

Bali law states that the only payment method that anyone in the country may use for goods and services is the rupiah currency, and so crypto users are advised to use a crypto debit card that allows crypto transfers into local currencies before buying.