Indonesian Ex-Finance Minister Wants National Cryptocurrency to Compete with Bitcoin

An ex-minister in Indonesia spoke about the merits of a central bank-issued cryptocurrency to counter the idea of banning the circulation of alternatives.

As many countries struggle to get a tighter grip on their own local cryptocurrency scenes, Indonesia’s ex-Finance Minister Chatib Basri considers that the country should take another direction.

Rather than banning the circulation of Bitcoin, he said the island nation should instead choose to mint its own cryptocurrency to compete with it.

“So, [Bank Indonesia] needs to create something that can be monitored. I understand BI’s concern over bitcoin […] as there is no underlying asset. But we cannot ban it,” said Basri.

Since it is difficult to monitor Bitcoin transactions in a transparent manner, many national governments consider the cryptocurrency a threat that may empower the criminal underground.

The ex-Minister isn’t the only person who toyed with the idea of a national cryptocurrency for Indonesia.

Bank Indonesia’s Head of Payment System Policy, Onny Widjanarko, has also looked into issuing a “virtual rupiah” to counter some of the challenges that other cryptocurrencies present.

However, as he said, this would be the first time a central bank actually makes the move.

In the past, Russia was considering issuing a crypto ruble, but not for the same reasons.

President Putin is reportedly considering the idea to evade sanctions, much in the same way that Nicolas Maduro wishes to exploit his “Petro” coin in Venezuela.

Indonesia’s reason for adopting a cryptocurrency would be more in line with Britain and Israel, both of which seek to make an ecosystem that can be monitored and presents convenience to their citizens.

During the British announcement, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, warned that it would probably not be a good idea to issue cryptocurrency alongside paper money.

“You [could] create a situation where you can have an instantaneous [bank] run. So as soon as there were any concern, people can switch in their account at the Bank of England,” he said.