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Indonesia launching national digital currency exchange in July: report

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Indonesia’s plans to launch a national digital asset exchange could become a reality before the end of July, with regulators putting last-minute touches to the project.

The country’s Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (Bappebti) confirmed that the national exchange will be unveiled before the end of the month. Didid Noordiatmoko, Bappebti’s Chief, said the agency had done its due diligence on the proposed national exchange, including several months of stress testing.

“…we conducted system integration tests between traders, exchanges, clearing, and depository,” Noordiatmoko said. “We agreed on the stock exchange rules. So that Know Your Customer (KYC) process and all kinds have been regulated there.”

Once the national exchange goes live, all digital currency transactions must be processed through the exchange, according to Noordiatmoko. Several exchanges currently operate in Indonesia, but it remains unclear how the launch of the new national exchange will affect their operations.

The Bappebti says the national exchange operations will be limited to local transactions but “still abreast of international market developments.” Insiders with knowledge of the matter say Bappebti will play a significant role in approving prices of digital currencies on the exchange as it hints at plans of running a tight ship.

The last hurdle for the launch of the national exchange is obtaining the approval of the Ministry of Trade, tasked with formulating policies for developing commercial activities. Currently, the Bappebti has forwarded details of its plans to Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan for approval.

Trade Minister Hasan is widely expected to give the green light for the exchange launch, given the extensive collaboration between the Ministry and Bappebti. A rollout is expected before the end of the month, with pundits expecting a one-month window for traders to sign up on the exchange.

Plans for the exchange’s launch first surfaced in 2021, with Binance rumored to be part of the development. However, the project suffered several hitches that led to three separate postponements.

Indonesia’s Deputy Trade Minister Jerry Sambuaga noted that a contributory factor to the slow pace of the exchange was the government’s need to avoid any pitfalls.

“This is proof that we are being careful. We don’t want to be hasty as it may cause us to miss something,” Sambuaga said in September 2022.

High-profile industry collapses pushes Bappebti

The collapse of several digital currency service providers in the country hardened Bappebti’s resolve to launch a national exchange. Zipmex’s implosion in the summer of 2022 left several Indonesian investors without access to court, while FTX’s collapse forced the regulators to speed up developments.

However, Bappebti is expected to hand over the reins of the digital currency industry to the Financial Services Authority as the country considers digital assets to be securities. For ease in transition, the government says it will give a two-year window to allow industry stakeholders to adjust to the regime.

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