Crackdown on Bitcoin Hits Businesses in Bali

Having issued a stark warning to “all parties” against any use of “virtual currency”, Bank Indonesia has now joined forces with local police to prevent bitcoin transactions where they are most likely to take place – in Bali. The island, a popular holiday destination with tourists spending both fiat and crypto, has been targeted by authorities. Inspections of businesses accepting bitcoin are underway, according to Indonesian media and the crypto community in the country.

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Authorities on the Lookout for Illegal Transactions

Representatives of the Indonesian central bank and the national police force on the island have teamed up to investigate cases of cryptocurrency trading deemed illegal by authorities in Jakarta. They have already started collecting information about possible violations.

The crackdown in Bali comes after BI declared bitcoin an illegal form of payment in the country. Virtual currencies are prohibited in Indonesia, the financial institution stated. Rupiahs should be used for all payments and transactions that need money. The banning statement came with plans to swiftly implement the rules:

We are looking out for bitcoin transactions in Bali, particularly in tourist spots. We will take measures against non-rupiah transactions.

That announcement was made by the head of BI’s local branch Causa Iman Karana, who called the island “an alluring place for those who want to carry out illegal transactions”. Quoted by local press, Karana said in Denpasar that institutions had already warned people not to use virtual money “because there is no authority that regulates transactions”.

Crackdown on Bitcoin Hits Businesses in Bali

Businesses Can Be Closed, Owners Taken to Court

Members of the crypto community on the island quickly shared the news of the imminent crackdown in social media. Warnings were posted about checks expected to be carried out by bank officials and local law enforcement officers. Businesses could be suspended and owners taken to court, if they accept bitcoin payments. A villa has been reportedly closed down by inspectors. A foreign national had been used as a “mystery customer”… according to comments on the Bitcoins in Bali Facebook page.

Bali has been put in the spotlight after the announced prohibition of payments involving bitcoin. BI’s spokesman Agusman Zainal said that such transactions violated Law No. 7/2011 regulating currencies and their transactions in the country.

The ban has been further detailed in a dedicated bank regulation No. PBI: 19/12/PBI/2017 covering the implementation of financial technology. Under the current law, any payment in Indonesia should be made in the national currency, the Rupiah.

Crackdown on Bitcoin Hits Businesses in Bali

The central bank official also pointed to the risks associated with bitcoin transactions, noting that the cryptocurrency had no “official administrator”. Money laundering, terrorism and other criminal activities were added to the ubiquitous list of unwanted side effects.

Indonesians had been notified about the restrictions long before BI issued its ultimate warning to “not buy, sell, or trade virtual currency”. The assault on Bali shows that Jakarta means business. But what the crackdown means for the business, only time will show.

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Do you think that the Indonesian government will succeed in preventing Bitcoin payments in Bali? Tell us in the comments section below.shutterstock_351592148_1600-1068x1068

After Tripling in a Week Stellar Rockets into the Cryptocurrency Top 10

2018 is still in diapers and yet the cryptocurrency top 10 is already looking very different to last year. Gone are the likes of dash, replaced by coins that have never reached these heady heights before: tron and stellar. The latter peaked at number six this week after tripling in value in seven days from a low of 32 cents. Stellar now boasts a $13 billion market cap. After lying low for the first three years of its existence, stellar is riding high and attracting widespread media attention.

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From a Ripple to a Rocket

Stellar is described is an open-source project with a “distributed, hybrid blockchain”. It “exists to facilitate cross-asset transfers of value, including payments. The Stellar Network forms “an open, global financial network where all actors – be they people, payment networks, or banks – have equal access”. If that sounds a lot like Ripple, that’s because it is: Stellar is Ripple’s sibling, having been created by Ripple cofounder Jed McCaleb after he left the company. McCaleb is also famous for having sold Mt Gox to Mark Karpeles in 2011. Stellar was initially a fork of the Ripple protocol, before later being extensively rewritten.

Stellar now boasts a $13 billion market cap. After lying low for the first three years of its existence, stellar is riding high and attracting widespread media attention.

Lumens (XLM) are the currency that power the Stellar Network, which boasts transaction times of under five seconds. The network has a fixed inflation rate of 1% per year. Like Ripple, Stellar’s targets are financial institutions and corporations, and the company has already inked deals with IBM and Deloitte; the latter is classified as a partner. Stellar’s goal, like that of many cryptocurrencies, is to become the web’s go-to payment solution. Low fees and fast transaction times are its two biggest claims, although the same can be said of many altcoins.

Billions of Lumens Shining Bright

In 2017, 29 cryptocurrencies exceeded bitcoin’s 1,600% gains, and stellar was one of them. Its value has grown an astonishing 28,000% in the space of a year. In the past 24 hours, $800 million lumens were traded on exchanges. The token reached an all-time high of 90 cents this week and is currently trading for around 75 cents.

Stellar Rockets Into the Cryptocurrency Top 10 After Tripling in a WeekSome commenters see Ripple and Stellar as locked in a battle for supremacy, enacting their own version of Bitcoin Core vs Bitcoin Cash. Given the similarities between Ripple and Stellar, including their shared codebase, people, and target audience, these comparisons are inevitable. In terms of developing relationships with banks and other financial institutions, Ripple is streets ahead, but Stellar has the upper hand in other areas.

For one thing, it’s not hoarding 60% of the total supply to itself. Ripple, on the other hand, still holds 55 billion XRP. The total number of coins in existence on each network is very similar though, standing at 100 billion ripple and 103 billion stellar. 17.8 billion stellar are in circulation right now, two billion of which were awarded to Stripe in 2014 in exchange for a $3 million loan. If Stripe still has them, those lumens are now worth billions.

Despite Stellar’s interstellar ascent, not everyone is convinced by the cryptocurrency.

Stellar now boasts a $13 billion market cap. After lying low for the first three years of its existence, stellar is riding high and attracting widespread media attention.

How Centralized is Stellar?

Like Ripple, Stellar usesstellar-1068x1068ich have close ties to Stellar. As a consequence, stellar is not a true decentralized currency. Generally speaking, the closer a cryptocurrency is aligned with institutional investors, the more centralized it is by design. For what it is worth, Stellar is at least less centralized than Ripple.

It is debatable whether Stellar is worth its $13 billion market cap, but then the same could be said of many cryptocurrencies lurking in the top 10, including Ripple, Tron, and Cardano. In an irrational market, assets are worth whatever the next buyer’s willing to pay for them, and right now that figure is higher than the one before. If Ripple can become a $3 coin, there’s no reason why Stellar can’t continue on its rocket ride to infinity and beyond. After months of bitcoin dominance, altcoin season has returned, and it’s the penny stocks of the crypto world that are shining the brightest.

Which project do you prefer – Stellar or Ripple? Let us know in the comments section below.