Zsazya Senorita, Jakarta – Indonesia has more crypto users than the total number of individual investors at the Indonesia Stock Exchange or IDX, but the country is still lacking a safe place for digital asset exchange despite repeated promises from the government to adopt the so-called crypto bourse, an analyst said on Friday.
According to the Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (Bappebti), there are 16.55 million crypto users in Indonesia, in comparison to 10.31 million individual IDX investors.
Bappebti, a regulatory arm under the Trade Ministry, also revealed that crypto asset trading volume reached nearly Rp 297 trillion ($19.5 billion) in the period of January-November 2022, a significant drop from the transaction volume of Rp 859 trillion ($56.5 billion) throughout 2021 due to the highly volatile value.
The government has promised to introduce the digital asset exchange since 2020 but it fails to materialize until now.
"In money opinion, [crypto trading] involves a huge sum of money. The absence of a crypto bourse leaves the regulatory authority solely in Bappebti's hands. And when Bappebti has no tool to protect investors, there will be potential losses," digital economy researcher Nailul Huda said during a visit to B-Universe Media Holdings in Jakarta.
Bappebti is prioritizing crypto literacy to get investors to protect themselves from the risk of crypto asset investment but building confidence and awareness about the risks and benefits of crypto assets may take 10 years or longer.
The adoption of a crypto bourse could cushion investors against unpredictable crypto markets at this very early stage of digital asset businesses in the country, Nailul said.
"The crypto asset bourse gives a feeling of security to investors because when problems arise the bourse is equipped with protective tools such as the circuit breaker threshold commonly found in the stock exchange," the analyst from the Jakarta-based Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) added.
Crypto trading is currently a risky business in Indonesia because there is no cross-market trading halt when prices drop at an extreme rate. "To put it simply, the existence of an authorized bourse will be the best immediate move by the government to protect investors," Nailul said.
He said a well-equipped trading system also can prevent the use of crypto assets in crimes such as terrorism funding and money laundering in Indonesia. "It's hard to believe that we still haven't had the crypto bourse since we first called for it in 2020," he said.
Kirana Siehaimi, an executive of crypto company Digital Futures Exchange (DFX) which has applied for operatorship of the would-be crypto bourse in Indonesia, said the protracted delay in the launch of the bourse costs investors time and money.
"I don't understand why the government keeps delaying the permit for the bourse. Companies who have applied for the permit since 2020 already made a big investment, fulfilled all requirements, paid deposits at the required amount of capital, and spent on workers' salaries, but not a single permit was issued," Kirana said.