BI Investigates Use of Bitcoin in Bali

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Bank Indonesia (BI) is investigating alleged bitcoin transactions made in Bali after it found indication of the activity on social media. BI Bali office head Causa Iman Karana said according to social media content, Bali was a haven for transactions using the cryptocurrency.

“We found out from some postings on social media that Bali appeared to have become a haven for Bitcoin transactions. The next step is we will ban them as mandated by the law. We ask them not to use it anymore. Along with the Directorate of Special Crime Investigation unit, we will enforce the rule that all transactions in Indonesia must use rupiah.”

According to results from the investigation, which kicked off late December after BI’s ban, two cafes have been accepting bitcoin as a payment method. It was previously found that 44 businesses, including car rental operations, hotels, travel agencies and jewelry shops, welcomed bitcoin transactions.

Karana said one of the cafes accepted transactions using bitcoin for invoices of more than Rp 243,000 (US$18.25), which is equivalent to 0.001 bitcoins. It took the cafe an hour and a half to process each transaction, while the administration fee was Rp 123,000.

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Previously, BI claimed bitcoin was a high risk and speculative virtual currency because it was not regulated by a particular legal entity and was without a clear asset base to help determine prices. The risk of money laundering and criminal activity has led to the increased scrutiny.

The bank has banned monetary transactions using bitcoin, owing to the fact that only one currency is valid in Indonesia, namely rupiah. The harsh rhetoric against Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies falls more in line with the Chinese and potential South Korean bans than the more lenient Australian position.



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