February 14, 2019 / 5:54 AM / 6 days ago

Cryptocurrency traders protest Indonesia's new futures rules

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian cryptocurrency traders are complaining that the government’s new rules on futures trading, which require high minimum capital for traders, will hinder development of the young but growing market.

Use of cryptocurrencies as payment instrument is banned by Indonesia’s central bank, but trade in the blockchain-backed assets is allowed.

Since October, Jakarta has allowed futures trading of cryptocurrencies as a way to provide hedging tools to protect customers from fluctuations in prices of cryptocurrencies. But there have been no futures transactions for any digital asset so far, according to traders.

To encourage trade and protect customers, the Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency, know as Bappebti, last week issued a regulation that set a 1 trillion rupiah ($71.17 million) as the minimum paid-up capital for a new trader offering future contracts for crypto assets.

Oscar Darmawan, chief executive of major digital asset trader Indodax, said the “very large” minimum capital level is more than the requirement for opening a rural bank and much higher than the 2.5 billion rupiah minimum paid-up capital for a futures broker of other commodities.

Regulation is needed to support a sector, help the economy and protect people “but it should not kill an industry,” Darmawan said.

Teguh Kurniawan Harmanda, chief operating officer of trading firm Tokocrypto, said the capital requirement was a surprise as it did not come up in industry consultations held by Bappebti prior to the release of the regulation.

Bappebti officials did not respond immediately to request from Reuters for comment.

The new rules also require traders to have a client support division, employ at lease one certified security practitioner, keep transaction data for at least five years, and have a server inside the country.

There is no data on the size of Indonesia’s cryptocurrency market, but people in the industry believe the number of investors has nearly matched that of the country’s main stock market.

Reporting by Tabita Diela; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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