It is now a lot easier for Indonesians to buy Bitcoin. Bitcoin.co.id, Indonesia’s rising Bitcoin website, has landed a groundbreaking deal with Indomaret to help Indonesia’s over 238 million residents to fund their Bitcoin.co.id accounts. Indonesians now have access to Bitcoin at more than 10,000 Indomaret convenience stores across Indonesia where they can “top up” Indonesian Rupiah on their Bitcoin.co.id account and then trade for Bitcoin.
Indomaret is headquartered in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. In 1988 the first official Indomaret store opened its doors. Other Bitcoin services dedicated towards allowing Indonesian customers to buy Bitcoin include tuker.in and artaBit and, technically, LocalBitcoins. However, the reach of Indomaret is not to be underestimated. Indonesians are already accustomed to paying bills at Indomaret; as a result, this on ramp to Bitcoin is incredibly familiar to many Indonesians.
Bitcoin.co.id has previously received international press coverage late in 2013 after an Indonesian publication, the JakartaGlobe, ran a story titled, Bitcoin Finds Itty-Bitty Market in Indonesia. Bitcoin.co.id’s co-founder Oscar Darmawan was very hopeful for Indonesian Bitcoiners back in 2013. He admitted to the Jakarta Globe that
currently, the number of investors and ‘merchants’ who accept Bitcoin [in Indonesia] is still very small.
Despite the country’s large population, Bitcoin’s use in other countries has continuously taken the media limelight.
In order to raise awareness of Bitcoin, we plan to hold seminars and book launches,
Oscar informed the Indonesian public.
My target is to raise the value of bitcoin transactions in Indonesia from Rp 2 billion per month to Rp 2 billion per day.
Though the Rp volume of Bitcoin transactions in Indonesia is hard to gauge, Bitcoin.co.id has undoubtedly grown over the last several months. In April, Bitcoin.co.id reported daily volumes of between 10-30 BTC, a marked improvement.
Indonesian Central Bank Opinion
In response to the growing Indonesian interest in Bitcoin, Indonesia’s central bank, Bank Indonesia, issued a statement about Bitcoin through their Department of Communication’s Executive Director: Difi Ahmad Johansyah. Along with the usual warning that Bitcoin could be used for scams on the web, Johansyah also said:
Bitcoin is a potential payment method, but it’s different than ordinary currency. It is not regulated by the central bank so there are risks. At the moment, we’re studying bitcoin and we have no plan to issue a regulation on it.
The most recent posted notice from Bank Indonesia, which dates to February 2014, clarifies:
In view of the Act No. 7 Year 2012 concerning Currency and Act No. 23 Year 1999 which has been amended several times, the latest with Act No. 6 Year 2009, Bank Indonesia states that Bitcoin and other virtual currency are not currency or legal payment instrument in Indonesia.
The society is encouraged to be careful toward Bitcoin and other virtual currency. All risks related to the ownership/use of Bitcoin should be borne by the owner/user of the Bitcoin and other virtual currency.
Indonesia: The World’s 4th Most Populous Country
A look at Southeast Asia is incomplete without a long stare at the Republic of Indonesia. The country’s almost 240 million people live on over 10,000 islands that span the length of Southeast Asia and have absorbed cultural influences from all surrounding countries. Despite having the world’s 4th largest population, Indonesia only has the world’s 16th largest nominal GDP. Interesting also is the fact that Indonesia is actually the largest Muslim-majority country in the world, though Indonesia’s government does officially recognize six religions. Indonesia’s tourism sector is growing fast and currently nets Indonesia almost 10 billion USD annually. The growing number of Bitcoin tourists will bring liquidity with them on their trips to Indonesia. Whether they are there for business or pleasure, until more brick and mortar businesses in Indonesia start accepting Bitcoin, an exchange to Indonesian Rupiah is necessary and trading in Bitcoin as opposed to another fiat currency will yield favorable rates. Indonesia’s Bitcoin community is growing at an expedited pace and Bitcoin.co.id’s new deal with Indomaret, which allows Indonesians to easily buy Bitcoin, is more wind for the sails.
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