It’s been a big few days for crypto-currencies in Indonesia.
The Trade Ministry Advisory Board (Bappebti) concluded a 4-month study of cryptos on Monday. They’ve decided that crypto-currencies should be considered commodities and allowed to be the subject of futures trading.
In addition, Pundi X, the Indonesian company that wants to be “the Wallmart or seven-11 of crypto-currencies”, is rolling out its first crypto payment machines.
All of this while it’s still technically illegal to purchase anything with crypto-currencies in Indonesia.
So why does everything seem to indicate that crypto-currencies have a green light?
As we have seen, the potential for blockchain (the underlying technology behind crypto-currencies) in Indonesia is vast. One of these reasons is serving the unbanked.
Pundi X is an offline sales network that wants to introduce point-of-service (POS) payment devices (like credit card machines) so anybody can buy cryptocurrencies as easily as buying a bottle of water.
Which is no mean feat, as crypto-currencies might just be the most confusing, inaccessible and painful asset/conversation someone can have.
So Pundi X’s goals are suitably big.
They want to have 100,000 POS in place in South East Asia by 2021.
As a result, they want to offer 80% of Indonesian’s that remain unbanked the chance to buy cryptocurrencies, cash in hand.
Over 160 million Indonesians still do not have access to a bank account. Soon, they could be their own banks for numerous different currencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Pundi X predicts that the Bank of Indonesia will recognize cryptos as a legitimate form of payment within the next 3 years.
Though in the meantime, they can work within regulations by transferring the crypto-currencies into another form of payment, say, Apple Pay or Go-Pay, immediately during the transaction.
It’s the realities of such instantaneousness that financial regulators are beginning to realize that the old-fashioned controls will not work on cryptos.
It’s better to evolve with them than try to completely repress them.
Indeed, Indonesia is already a huge fan of crypto-currencies, with almost as many Indonesian’s trading them as traditional stocks.
Given the volatility of crypto-currencies, however, it is yet to be seen whether Indonesia’s unbanked will be flocking to their local Pundi X to part with their precious Rupiah.
That being said, amongst those 160 million Indonesian’s without a bank account, there will no doubt be a plethora of get-rich-quick punters that fancy the gamble.