In a public statement, the Bank of Indonesia warned against the risks of using bitcoin and emphasized that it is not currency or a legal payment tool. The bank added that any risks incurred with owning digital currencies should be shouldered by its owners.
Prior to this, the governor of the Bank of Indonesia already said that using bitcoin breaks a number of the country’s laws. The latest statement doesn’t necessarily ban its use but contains strongly-worded statements against the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin in Indonesia
While other countries that formerly had a skeptical stance on bitcoin are starting to welcome it, Indonesia maintains a hardline view on the cryptocurrency.
“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.”
Bitcoin business owners such as Suasti Atmastuti Astaman, Business Development Manager of Bitcoin Indonesia, clarified that this doesn’t mean that using bitcoin is illegal. “From that statement, we may conclude that the legal medium of exchange in Indonesia should be only Rupiah. US Dollar and gold are also not a legal medium of payment,” he said. “Thus, in a way, bitcoin can be treated as a commodity (a digital commodity), same as gold. Bitcoin is allowed to exist in Indonesia, and people are allowed to buy, sell and own bitcoin as long as it is not used as a medium of payment.”
Despite that, other businesses related to the cryptocurrency have continued to pop up in the country, with some catering to the large Muslim majority in Indonesia.