Lately, Indonesia has been following in the footsteps of its close neighbor and business partner, Singapore, in exploring the use of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. And, there’s a good reason too. After all, according to the World Bank’s census report, Indonesia is ranked 14th across the globe for receipts of migrant remittances, with an estimated US$10.5 billion sent home from those working abroad.
It is in this context that Indonesia’s Deputy Minister of Trade Jerry Sambuaga’s declaration made headlines, with the same highlighting the grave interest governments such as Indonesia’s are taking in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Speaking at a webinar on crypto-assets, Sambuaga revealed the Ministry’s plans to establish a crypto-exchange to “accommodate crypto-assets.”
“In the near future, maybe within the coming months, or maybe even next month there will be an exchange especially regulating and accommodating the trades of these crypto commodities.”
According to the minister, the initiative will aid the government in capitalizing on a major part of the country’s booming crypto-sector. In fact, the Deputy Minister of Trade also cited the previous years’ trading volumes of IDR 64 trillion or $4.44 billion to make his case. As of February, the figures for the same were now amounting to IDR 70 trillion.
Sambuaga also touched upon the rising value of Indonesia’s crypto-market, stating,
“This means is that it shows the future direction that digital assets [and] digital commodities can be an alternative.Or this could even be the main pillar to increase our trade.”
Indonesia legalized trading for crypto-based assets for residents in September 2018. In fact, as per a report published by the Indonesian Blockchain Association in 2020, there were more than 1.5 million crypto-traders in the country – a figure representing a robust growth of 2,263% since 2015. Here, it’s also worth noting that Indonesia’s 269 million citizens are still unbanked.
The present development can be seen as part of a global trend. State-owned crypto-exchanges in a bid to entice domestic merchants away from the non-public sector may just be the next step in states asserting control over the crypto-market.
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