Warning to tourists using cryptocurrency issued by Bali governor

The government of Bali is taking measures to prevent tourists from using cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services. The governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, has reminded everyone that Indonesia’s fiat currency is the only legal tender. Koster hosted a press conference on May 28, during which he warned that tourists who use cryptocurrency for payment will face strict actions, including deportation, administrative sanctions, criminal penalties, closure of business premises, and other tough sanctions. The use of cryptocurrencies for payments is banned, though trading is allowed. Bali’s chief police inspector and Trisno Nugroho, the head of the Bali Representative Office for Bank Indonesia, also attended the meeting.

Koster emphasized that the rupiah, Indonesia’s currency, is the only one legally allowed 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). The announcement comes after Kompas, the country’s newspaper of record, published an investigative report on May 26. The report found several businesses in Bali that accepted cryptocurrency payments, including a meditation retreat, a motorbike rental business, and a crypto-themed cafe.

Despite the hardline stance from Bali’s governor and Indonesia, the country is on track to roll out a national crypto exchange by next month. The Ministry of Trade will act as a custodian and clearing house for the local cryptocurrency markets.

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