Indonesia to launch national cryptocurrency exchange

Indonesia shifts responsibility for crypto regulation to Financial Services Authority

Indonesian capital                                 
The trading value of crypto shrank in Indonesia last year, despite a surge in crypto trader numbers – Photo: Shutterstock
                                

Indonesia is set to establish a national cryptocurrency exchange in 2023 as part of a major upheaval of its regulatory approach.

At present, crypto assets in the South East Asian nation are traded in the same way as commodity contracts under the oversight of the Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency, which is known as Bappebti.

Didid Noordiatmoko, acting head of Bappebti, said that responsibility for supervising these assets will be transferred over to Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Crypto assets to be regulated ‘on an equal basis’

Hailing the decision, the FSA’s head of financing and risk management, Suminto Sastrosuwito, said that “crypto assets have become investment and financial instruments” and thus needed to be regulated “on an equal basis” with other such instruments.

The Financial Sector Development and Reinforcement Bill was ratified by the Indonesian House of Representatives in December.

Mixed attitude to crypto assets

Indonesia’s attitude towards the volatile crypto sector has been mixed. In 2017, crypto payments were banned but crypto trading remained legal.

Bappebti has approved 383 crypto assets and 10 local coins for trading and is currently reviewing 151 further assets and 10 more coins.

The global crypto winter that began in 2022 has influenced crypto market activity in Indonesia. Although the number of crypto investors in the nation grew from 11.2 million in 2021 to 16 million in 2022, trading value shrank from IDR859trn ($55bn) to IDR300trn for the same period.

Bank of Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo recently announced his intention to release a conceptual central bank digital currency (CBDC). Governments and central banks around the world have stepped up research into digital versions of national currencies in recent years in response to the rise of more decentralised media of exchange such as Bitcoin. 

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