Indonesia continues its measured embrace of crypto

Written by Kapronasia || January 18 2023

Crypto bear market be darned: Indonesia plans to set up a cryptocurrency exchange later this year ahead of a shift of regulatory powers over digital assets to the Financial Services Authority from the Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency, known as Bappebti. The move is part of a broader financial reform push.

The logic for the change in regulation of crypto assets in Indonesia is the following: Indonesian regulators see them as investment and financial instruments, and believe they should be regulated on an equal basis with other financial and investment instruments.

According to Deal Street Asia, Bappebti had expressed its intention to establish a crypto exchange in 2021, but the plan encountered a number of obstacles. In particular, the regulator has had difficulty finding an “ideal benchmarking” from other countries that already have successful crypto exchanges. The delay in the launch of the exchange is also reportedly adversely affecting Bappebti because the country lacks division of responsibility and risk related for digital asset transactions.  

Indonesia has generally been supportive of crypto as an investment class, but not for payments – which it banned on January 1, 2018.

In the most recent crypto bull market, Indonesian investors were very active. Transaction volume of crypto assets in the country rose more than 1,000% in 2021 to 859.4 trillion rupiah ($57.37 billion), according to Bappebti's data.

Despite the truculent bear market, new investors continue to jump into the market. There were 16 million crypto investors in Indonesia in the first 11 months of 2022, up from 11.2 million at the end of 2021. However, trading value shrank to about 300 trillion rupiah ($19.2 billion) during that period, much lower than the 859 trillion rupiah seen in the previous year.

At present, there are 383 crypto assets and 10 local coins that can be traded in Indonesia, while an additional 151 assets and 10 coins under review by Bappebti.

A survey by Gemini published in April 2022, the "Global State of Crypto Report," found that 41% of Indonesians aged between 18 and 75 years old with an income of more than $14,000 per year own crypto assets. The country shared the top spots with Brazil among the 20 countries surveyed by Gemini.