Bali Governor Implements Strict Measures Against Crypto Payments by Foreign Tourists

In a bold move aimed at preserving the integrity of Indonesia’s financial system, the Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, has declared a crackdown on foreign tourists using cryptocurrencies as a means of payment within the popular tourist destination. The governor’s announcement comes as part of a broader effort to ensure compliance with Indonesian law and regulations governing currency usage.

At a press conference on Sunday, Governor Koster firmly stated, “Foreign tourists who behave inappropriately, engage in activities not permitted by their visa, use cryptocurrencies as payment, or violate other provisions will face severe consequences.” The conference was attended by high-ranking officials, including the Bali Police Chief Inspector General, the Head of Bank Indonesia (BI) – Bali Representative Office, and other relevant stakeholders.

Bali Governor Wayan Koster and Trisno Nugroho, Head of BI – Bali Representative Office, held a press conference in Denpasar on Sunday, May 28, 2023.

Governor Koster emphasized that strict actions would be taken against offenders, ranging from deportation, administrative sanctions, criminal penalties, to even the closure of business premises. The governor cited Law No. 7 of 2011 on Currency, which prohibits the use of currencies other than the Indonesian rupiah for transactions within the country.

According to this law, individuals found using currencies other than the rupiah can face imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to Rp200 million (US$13,300). Governor Koster also highlighted Law No. 4 of 2023 concerning the Development and Strengthening of the Financial Sector, which regulates the official use of the rupiah within Indonesia.

Engaging in foreign exchange business activities without proper authorization from Bank Indonesia could result in imprisonment ranging from one to five years, with fines ranging from Rp50 million (US$3,300) to Rp22 billion (US$1.4 million).

Additionally, compliance with the obligation to use the rupiah in transactions within Indonesian territory is regulated by Bank Indonesia Regulation No. 17/3/PBI/2015. Violations of this regulation will result in administrative sanctions such as written reprimands, fines, and prohibitions from engaging in payment transactions.

Addressing the matter, Trisno Nugroho, Head of BI Bali Representative Office, clarified that while cryptocurrencies are permitted as assets, they are prohibited as a payment instrument within Indonesia. This distinction underscores the intention of the authorities to protect the national currency and maintain financial stability.

Governor Koster’s strong stance on crypto usage aligns with Indonesia’s wider efforts to regulate the rapidly growing cryptocurrency market. By enforcing strict measures in a popular tourist destination like Bali, the provincial government aims to safeguard the country’s financial system while ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

As Bali remains a magnet for international tourists, the implementation of these measures will likely require diligent monitoring and cooperation between the authorities, hospitality establishments, and other relevant stakeholders to ensure effective enforcement. The governor’s announcement serves as a reminder to foreign visitors to adhere to Indonesian laws during their stay, particularly regarding currency usage, in order to avoid legal complications and disruptions to their travel experience.

While the use of cryptocurrencies continues to evolve globally, it is evident that Bali’s provincial government is taking a proactive approach to maintain financial stability and uphold the sovereignty of the Indonesian rupiah.

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