‘Use the rupiah’: Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno has something to say to Bali’s crypto bros

Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno. Photo: Instagram/@sandiuno
Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno. Photo: Instagram/@sandiuno

A wave of discontent has surged among government officials over the flagrant disregard for payment regulations exhibited by foreign tourists, especially those who rely on cryptocurrency.

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno has commented on recent reports of “bule” (a slang word for foreigners, usually referring to Caucasians) visitors engaging in cryptocurrency transactions on the island, a practice deemed illegal due to the exclusive recognition of the Indonesian rupiah as the legitimate currency.

Speaking to reporters in his weekly press briefing yesterday, Sandiaga expressed his bewilderment at the audacity displayed by foreign tourists in Bali. 

“We are governed by legal regulations, which dictate that in Indonesia we use the Rupiah for all transactions. The utilization of cryptocurrencies as a payment method falls beyond the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. However, we implore all visitors, be it short-stay or long-stay, to adhere to the laws governing accepted means of payment in accordance with Indonesia’s legal framework,” he said. 

Previously, Bali Governor Wayan Koster gave a stern warning that foreign tourists flouting the rules would face severe repercussions, including the threat of deportation.

 “Foreign visitors who engage in unseemly behavior, partake in activities unauthorized by their visas, employ cryptocurrencies as a mode of payment, or violate any other provisions, shall be dealt with firmly in accordance with prevailing laws and regulations. This may involve deportation, administrative penalties, criminal prosecution, business closures, and other stringent sanctions,” he said.

Reports have said that the Bali Police have swiftly initiated investigations to address these allegations.

Under Indonesian law, anyone conducting non-rupiah transactions on the country’s soil could be jailed for a year in addition to paying fines of up to IDR200 million (US$13,344). 

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