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It is home to nearly 250 million people and is a member of the G20, but Indonesia has been a reluctant participant in the Bitcoin economy. The archipelago accounts for less than one percent of all Bitcoin market share.
Perhaps the launch of a new exchange service, Bitcoin.co.id, will help move things along. The service, which offers transaction processing times of less than an hour during work hours, functions much like a bureau de change, with set buy and sell rates pegged to larger exchanges such as Mt. Gox.
Bitcoin.co.id joins existing exchanges artaBit and tuker.in in providing such services. That said, Indonesian Bitcoin users may find LocalBitcoins the easier option, the service already popular among local crytpocurrency enthusiasts.
Indonesia is worth watching because of the size of its economy and the opportunities it represents.
More than half — perhaps 60% — of Indonesia’s population lacks access to traditional banking services. Indonesia’s National Banking Association described its industry as “a failure,” especially when compared to how thoroughly cell phone technology has penetrated that market (102% SIM card card ownership).
So, that leaves a country with tons of telecoms capabilities but lots of cash-only transactions.
India and Indonesia could be the next big market [for Bitcoin],” Bitcoin.co.id co-founder Oscar Darmawan told The Jakarta Globe. “Currently, the number of investors and merchants who accept Bitcoin [in Indonesia] is still very small.”
“In order to raise awareness of Bitcoin, we plan to hold seminars and book launches,” he said. “My target is to raise the value of Bitcoin transactions in Indonesia from Rp [local currency, the rupiah] 2 billion per month to Rp 2 billion per day.”
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