Indonesia – a land of islands, one of which is rather well-known by people all around the world: Bali. As a developing country, Indonesia has been generally welcoming to technological innovations, including blockchain – as shown by the presence of the Indonesian Blockchain Association. However, as Forbes would argue, Indonesia would still have a rather long way to go before they can fully implement and accept blockchain technology: which is through education and tech-savviness. In relation to cryptocurrencies, how are they viewed, and is there any difference on Indonesia’s stance on them when compared to blockchain? Let’s take a look.
In Indonesia, Cryptocurrencies Are Not to be Accepted as a Means of Payment
According to their government, Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are not accepted as legal tenders. This means that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not to be used as legal payment instruments. Essentially, no kind of transaction (outside of a crypto exchange) within the country should involve digital currencies as a means of payment.
The Indonesian government only recognizes Rupiah as the sole currency used in any kind of transaction (again, accept for cryptocurrency exchanges). Even in Bali, where many foreigners from countries that are more familiar and exposed to Bitcoin come and build the tourism ecosystem, Indonesian authorities are investigating and planning to ban local businesses who accept Bitcoin payments.
That, However, Doesn’t Stop Innovations from Coming
Despite the ban, though, new projects are still appearing, one of which is Pundi. Through the use of their XPOS device, one of Pundi’s aims is to enable crypto-based purchases in physical stores all around the world, including in Indonesia, where they are headquartered at the moment.
They remain positive that they can work together with the Indonesian government to come up with policies that will foster the growth of the blockchain industry. While there hasn’t been any official announcement regarding the latest update on this, it is possible that the talks are going the positive way as Pundi accepted donations in cryptocurrencies as a relief fund for the recent tsunami disaster in Palu.
One Thing’s For Sure: Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies can be Traded
While there isn’t any update yet on the legality of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, Indonesians can still freely buy and sell Bitcoin through exchanges of their choice. The Trade Ministry’s Futures Exchange Supervisory Board of Indonesia (Bappebti) has released an official statement that they consider cryptocurrencies to be future trading commodities.
This means that – contrary to what some may have believed – crypto trading in Indonesia is not illegal. If anything, the official stance of Bappebti only accelerates further growth of crypto traders in Indonesia and various crypto exchange projects. In March 2018, it was reported that the Indonesia Digital Asset Exchange (Indodax), the biggest crypto exchange in the nation, will have secured 1.5 million members by the end of the year. This figure is set to rise higher as it has the potential to even outnumber stock traders.
As a country with a dominant Muslim population, a study by an Islamic scholar stating that Bitcoin is halal might even have a positive effect on the crypto market, as it could push further growth of Bitcoin trading activities in the country.
Other exchanges are also appearing beside Indodax as they look to share the market pie in the country. With at least a few competitors, now Indonesians have the option to look for an exchange that best caters to their needs. This is no wonder, since with their population count of around 267 million, Indonesia ranks #4 in the list of countries with the highest population.
At the end of the day, we can remain positive that Indonesia, in time, will be more open towards cryptocurrencies. Someday, perhaps, as they work closer with various crypto communities and projects like Pundi and the Indonesian Blockchain Association, cryptocurrencies could be accepted as a legal form of payment in Indonesia. It remains to be seen, however, when this will happen. What we can probably agree on is the fact that blockchain is an innovative technology, and an innovative technology can last a lifetime. If you’re looking to try investing in cryptocurrencies, check out our DinarCoin. Its price is pegged to the international gold spot price, therefore you can have a taste of cryptocurrencies while at the same time limiting your risks, as gold is exposed to less volatility than the general cryptocurrency market.