We have obviously heard of stores that accept bitcoins. Then came “Bitcoin boulevards” — and now one initiative is trying to create a set of Bitcoin islands.
The founder and CEO of Bitcoin Indonesia, Oscar Darmawan, has been making efforts to make Bali the first “bit islands.” Recently the founder of Coin Of Sale, Tomas Forgac, partnered up for the project; however, several other Bitcoin payment processors are supporting the vision such as Artabit.com, CoinPip.com, and TukarCash.com.
Oscar Darmawan is “currently managing [the] biggest Bitcoin Exchanger in Indonesia and act[s] as spoke person for Indonesia Government and Pers for Bitcoin Development in Indonesia” and is the project director of Bit Islands.
The partnership with the payment processors is a dynamic duo, Bitcoin Indonesia is an Indonesian Bitcoin Trade Center denominated in Rupiah, and the payment processors can provide new payment tools and a differentiation strategy for the local businesses.
Bali, being a destination of 3.2 million tourists in 2013, wants to make its’ islands as pleasurable as possible for travel-goers, and this group think that includes not having to keep switching currencies when you travel or having to carry cash; although, there will be Bitcoin ATMs at travel hubs so, don’t worry.
Individual Indonesians and Indonesian businesses seek to gain a lot from adopting Bitcoin. Inflation in Indonesia was 4.5% in 2012 and 8.1% in 2011 (World Bank) and over the last three years the Rupiah has declined more than 20% in value relative to the USD. Businesses who accept Bitcoin will also stand out to consumers and will likely gain more customers.
So far a few merchants are interested ranging from “small cafes to villas” but the team is utilizing their contacts and aims to get 100 merchants in Kuta, Legian and Seminyak, which are Bali’s main travel destinations, by 2014.
If you want to help this project you can donate your time, bitcoins or simply find out more and spread the word, visit bitislands.com.