Home » Become a Bali crypto digital nomad like me: Here’s how

Become a Bali crypto digital nomad like me: Here’s how

Become a Bali crypto digital nomad like me: Here’s how

If you rocked up to most workplaces in a bikini, thongs, or a singlet, HR would probably give you a tap on the shoulder. But here in Bali, that kind of casual attire is the norm at the Tribal co-working space in Canggu.

It is a bright sunny day and I’ve just jumped off the back of a GoJek moped — think Uber but with motorcycles — right at the entrance of Tribal. I feel overdressed in socks and shoes.

The pool and the bar are buzzing, and people genuinely look happy to be “working,” walking around casually sipping from coconuts.

Not far away, a pool table is hosting a fairly intense game involving four boisterous British lads — it feels like a work-life balance firmly tilted in favor of “life.”

Crypto digital nomad lifestyle in Bali

The global general manager of cryptocurrency tax software Koinly, Adam Saville-Brown, is a regular at Tribal. The British-born Australian resident says Canggu — a resort village on the south coast of Bali — is one of the most popular spots in the world for digital nomads, and Tribal is the go-to spot in the area for crypto workers to network.

“I’ve met loads of people in the crypto community here at Tribal. Project leads and developers that have credible projects,” Saville-Brown tells Magazine.

“Tribal is really good to have as a solid base in Canggu and a place to meet like-minded people, it feels like a place for idea generation,” he says.

However, the CEO of crypto education and analysis platform Collective Shift, Ben Simpson —an Australian who has worked from Canggu in the past — warns that not every crypto digital nomad there is strictly on the level.

“I got introduced to a guy from a friend who didn’t really know what he did, and I had a brief look at this guy, and he was basically running pump and dumps,” Simpson tells Magazine.

“You are going to find the odd dodgy person, elusive about who they are and what they are,” adds Saville-Brown.

Tribal is just one of the several co-working spaces in Canggu. Digital nomads often switch between the other options, which include Zin Cafe, Bwork Bali, Dojo Bali coworking and Outpost coworking Canggu.

Cointelegraph reporter based in Bali

Since the beginning of 2024, I’ve been alternating between living as a digital nomad in Bali and Australia. I’ve found it to be a great place to work for Cointelegraph and mingle with people who share my passion for innovative industries like crypto and artificial intelligence (AI).

I often encounter other people working in crypto and have made friends with many of them. I now find myself talking about crypto both during work and in my free time—an absolute nightmare for my traditional finance mates.

The island is also an excellent place for fitness inspiration — just about everyone here seems to have a six-pack.

After wrapping up work, I will usually squeeze in some cardio by hitting the local F45 gym, playing tennis with friends, or going for a beach run before dinner.

Working remotely in Bali

The spectacular view from Como Beach Club Canggu. (Ciaran Lyons)

Bali is one of 17,508 islands in Indonesia — the world’s fourth most populous country, with a total population of around 279.5 million, according to Worldometer data.

Bali’s population is about 4.37 million, as per recent data.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, Canggu has overtaken the former favorite areas of Kuta and Seminyak as the go-to spot for remote workers.

You can tell by the amount of construction and the swarm of mopeds on the road. Locals and long-term nomads are whispering that Uluwatu — 36 km away from Canggu and about an hour by car — might eventually become the next hot spot for nomads.

“Bali has a great mix of people. Some of the crypto people here just love its ethos and values, others use it as a store of value while traveling across the world and then there are people working on startups and projects in the space,” a contributor for crypto analysis firm CryptoRated tells Magazine.

Cost of living as a digital nomad in Bali

According to Numbeo data, the cost of living in Bali is approximately 61.5% lower than in the United States.

You can live comfortably in Bali for anywhere from $10 to $20 a day. It’s certainly possible to spend even less, down to $5, but your stomach might not be too happy about it.

Local warungs are a popular cheap food option among digital nomads, where decent meals can be scored for around $3.

When you land at Bali’s international airport in Denpasar, expect about an hour’s car ride to Canggu on a good travel day.

For busier times, factor in two hours. Just a heads-up, there aren’t any highways here, so expect congestion and slow speeds.

Finns Beach Club image
Finns Beach Club hosts approximately 4,500 people per day. (Finns Beach Club)

Entering the crypto digital nomad lifestyle requires self-discipline, and a lot of it, as the temptation to party is right in front of you. Simpson learned this through experience here.

“It’s hard to stay motivated when everyone else is just hitting the beach clubs by three o’clock,” Simpson laughs.

Canggu is home to the world’s largest beach club, Finns Beach Club. With three beachfront infinity pools and nine bars (including two swim-up bars), the place is pretty impressive.

Just be prepared to pay close to standard American rates for drinks and food rather than local prices.

Saville-Brown agrees that “Bali is a bit of a pick-your-own-adventure,” explaining that the party lifestyle is just as easy to fall into as the healthy lifestyle.

“You could just as easily fall into the yoga classes and running lifestyle as much as the party lifestyle.”

“There is temptation, with everyone telling you to come to this party, come to this venue,” he adds.

“The downside is it can be quite transactional and it’s very transient,” Simpson says.

Tribal coworking space Canggu

There’s no set entry fee to work at Tribal, but to stick around and use the facilities, you’re required each day to spend a minimum of 200,000 Indonesian rupiah, roughly equivalent to $15.

Tribal has various areas within the co-working space so you can work efficiently. (Instagram/Tribal)

I order a dragon fruit smoothie bowl and a flat white, which still doesn’t cover my minimum spend. I overhear a man saying, “I’m bullish on Solana this year, man,” in a strong Spanish accent, cigarette in hand, and I start chatting with him.

Working in crypto, he wants to remain anonymous. I notice his flashy Rolex watch. However, Bali’s street vendors sell replica Rolexes for less than the price of a coffee, so that’s not necessarily a flex here.

“The most successful crypto guys always stay under the radar,” he claims, reeking of tobacco. Anonymity is a big deal for many crypto-digital nomads here.

Diana, the founder of Bitcoin Indonesia, who is a step below full anonymity by using her first name, says it is not uncommon for people to identify themselves by their X account handles in the Bali Bitcoin community.

It’s also common for attendees at her Bitcoin Indonesia events to request that Bitcoin stickers be planted over their faces in photos for privacy reasons.

The research contributor for CryptoRated tells Magazine that anonymity gives him the confidence to share his opinions more freely.

Bitcoin Indonesia gives you the option at events to place a sticker over your face in their social media content. (Bitcoin Indonesia)

“Being anon also gives you the ability to express yourself more freely about different topics, which I really enjoy,” 

Originally from Mallorca, Spain, he’s no stranger to island life. He chose to base himself in Bali as he has “yet to come across a place that provides more freedom than Bali.”

He splits his time between Tribal and another co-working space, Bwork, as the setting is motivating for him to be around others who want to “deeply focus on their work.”

“It’s a great way not only to make friends but also connections and relationships that help with building the business,” the CryptoRated contributor says.

If you’re not the networking type, just wear some crypto-branded gear, says Diana.

“Mostly I wear Bitcoin t-shirts, then people always ask me, are you into Bitcoin? And then we get in touch,” she explains.

Networking for crypto digital nomads in Bali

Simpson points out that co-working spaces aren’t for everyone, however, as he discovered when trying to do a bunch of calls for Collective Shift.

“Co-working spaces are good if you like to be around other people if you’re like coding or you’re doing E-commerce or something,” he says, adding that by contrast, jobs requiring constant phone calls are more challenging in the bustling co-working spaces.

“You’re doing sales or anything like we have to talk to people. It can be quite difficult in the coworking spaces, so I would recommend getting a better Airbnb and having a desk or something at your place to stay and doing those calls.”

Ben Simpson’s simple work station set-up from his Airbnb in Canggu. (Ben Simpson).

When he wasn’t on the calls and wanted to leave the Airbnb, he found it easier to “dial in” to work from the cafes than the coworking spaces.

Canggu-based crypto consultant Dominic Frei is another one who loves the Bali lifestyle but isn’t into coworking spaces.

“I walked in and about seven tables were occupied with one person on each in front of a laptop and earphones over the head. There were noises on the street and so on and I don’t understand it again. Maybe I’m too old,” Frei tells Magazine.

Frei instead works from his rented three-bedroom villa, which has a pool and a nice view of the rice field from the balcony.

Frei brought his wife and two young kids from Switzerland to the island and runs his own crypto consulting business remotely.

Most of his clients come from word-of-mouth in Bali, as well as from parents at the international school that his children attend in Bali, which usually starts off as a casual chin-wag before turning into conversation.

He helps onboard investors into crypto, charging $2,000 for a sit-down meeting and unrestricted hours throughout the day to set up some crypto exchanges, do the KYC process, and, if time permits, some self-custody wallets. “It depends on how tech-savvy the individual is,” Dominic says.

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