Retailers in Bali are being forced to stop accepting bitcoin at their shops and restaurants.
The actions of governments and regulatory authorities in Asia have been a hot topic in the cryptocurrency space over the last few weeks. The recent crash is widely seen as being driven by reports that the South Korean government indicating it is set to crackdown on cryptocurrency usage. A similar concern is hanging over the already heavily regulated Chinese market right now, rooted in potential government actions to limit access to international exchanges for users within its borders.
Bali A Hive Of Bitcoin Activity?
But it doesn’t stop there.
The latest news out of Asia is that Indonesian authorities are looking to investigate bitcoin-associated activity in Bali, one of Southeast Asia’s most popular tourist destinations and – if the reports are to be believed and the concern’s of the Indonesian government validated – a hive of bitcoin-related activity.
Here’s what Iman Karana, head of Bank Indonesia’s representative office in Bali, had to say on the development:
We found out from some postings on social media that Bali appeared to have become a haven for bitcoin transactions.
Using bitcoin as a point of sale transaction token in Bali is illegal, as per regulatory action taken by policymakers in the region back in December 2017. Shortly after the regulatory action was put in place, however, police on the island went undercover to investigate reports of businesses still accepting bitcoin as a payment method.
The results of this undercover operation led to only two businesses being uncovered as still accepting bitcoin, with a further 44 (with operations ranging from car rental to jewelry and more) having just recently stopped.
Bitcoin use under scrutiny in Bali. At least two cafes are still using bitcoin for payment services in Bali. Other businesses have stopped using the service as a single bitcoin transaction took 1.5 hours to be processed. https://t.co/MGeM5yrvFq pic.twitter.com/QwH2b09RMU
— TODAY (@TODAYonline) January 20, 2018
Karana went on to say this in response to the undercover operation:
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.
How this will play out longer term remains to be seen. The viability of bitcoin as a point of sale asset has come under scrutiny of late as scaling issues have resulted in longer transaction times and higher fees. With developments such as Lightning set to change that in the near term, however, retailers and spenders may once again push to be allowed to use BTC or one of its peers to pay for goods and services.
If this happens, Indonesian authorities may have a tougher time enforcing restrictive rules in the region.
What do you think about this restrictive activity? Does it spell further trouble for bitcoin going forward? Let us know below!
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