DEC 29, 2023
Indonesia sets out crypto exchange registration requirement
In response to the expanding demand for cryptocurrencies in Indonesia, the government has laid down a directive, requiring crypto exchanges operating within the Southeast Asian country to register with the recently inaugurated Commodity Future Exchange (CFX).
The CFX was established back in July as the world’s first national bourse exclusively dedicated to digital assets. The national exchange has been modeled to replicate exchanges in traditional markets like the NASDAQ, but in this case, focusing entirely on digital assets.
Under regulations introduced in 2019 by the Indonesian Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (Bappebti), crypto exchanges in the country must seek authorization. Even exchanges operating legally since 2014 fall under the category of “prospective crypto exchanges” and must undergo a rigorous process to gain recognition as legitimate entities affiliated with the CFX.
This regulatory initiative aims to create a secure environment for crypto investors while simultaneously serving as a platform for tracking digital asset transactions for taxation purposes.
Beyond the regulatory oversight, registering with the CFX also acts as a gateway for the Indonesian government to monitor cryptocurrency transactions for taxation purposes. The authorization process involves registration with self-regulatory organizations (SROs) like the CFX, followed by scrutiny by Bappebti to assess the company’s suitability to operate. Only after meeting all requirements can a crypto exchange be issued a crypto exchange license (PFAK).
Failure to complete the new procedures and registrations within the specified timeframe, set for Aug. 17, 2024, will result in the inability to operate in Indonesia. Currently, there are 29 prospective crypto exchanges in Indonesia that must obtain authorization to continue their operations.
Regulatory oversight change in 2025
It is noteworthy that a significant regulatory overhaul in 2025 will shift the oversight of cryptocurrency regulation from Bappebti to Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK). This change could potentially reclassify cryptocurrencies as securities, potentially impacting taxation. While crypto assets are currently subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) and Income Tax (PPh) as commodities, reclassification as securities may lead to a reduction in taxes.
In late February, Didid Noordiatmoko, head of Bappebti, announced the nation’s intention to launch its state-backed crypto exchange by mid-2023. The exchange will be operated by a private-sector company rather than the government, with private-sector crypto platforms executing trades on the exchange.
The surge in demand for cryptocurrencies in Indonesia is evidenced by official data from 2023, indicating that the number of registered crypto traders exceeds that of stock traders. Data published in October outlined that Indonesia has seen a 10.1% year-on-year increase in the number of crypto investors in the country, bringing that figure to 17.79 million citizens.
The increase in interest in crypto among Indonesians has not been lost on the country’s politicians as crypto appears to have become an election issue. Gibran Rakabuming Raka, a vice-presidential candidate in the upcoming Indonesian election, expressed the aim to accelerate Indonesia’s position as a leader in the digital revolution by cultivating expertise in blockchain and cryptocurrencies.