Southeast Asia Nations Jumping On Bitcoin Bandwagon
While most Bitcoiners focus on the activities in the United States and China to keep a finger on the pulse of the digital currency, other nations are slowly making headway on the Bitcoin scene. The latest hot spots are Singapore and Indonesia, two of the major players in southeast Asia. Both these nations have made the Bitcoin news stream in the past 48 hours but for different reasons.
Singapore has officially announced that it will not interfere with Bitcoin transactions, clarifying that they will neither restrict nor regulate it. A brave move given that the Asian giant, China, has played a larger role in Bitcoin activities within its borders. Indonesia is also making waves in southeast Asia by launching its first exchange, Bitcoin.co.id, and adopting a more liberal perspective than neighboring nations.
While some may not consider these developments as significant seeing that many Western nations have gone through similar motions over the past few months, it must be remembered that over half of the world’s population lives in Asia. The vast majority reside in south and southeast Asia. With great Bitcoin trading in the pipeline, these other Asian nations may collectively influence Bitcoin volumes and prices possibly close to the same extent as China.
Singapore Gives The Thumbs Up
It is refreshing to hear a government say that it will not interfere in Bitcoin trading within its borders. While some nations have accepted Bitcoin with open arms, others have moved to undo the system among its citizens. And then there are the horde of fence sitters. Singapore however, has not been decisive in how it will embrace Bitcoin but it has at least said that it will not try to regulate or restrict it.
Nevertheless, Singapore has not entirely been non-partisan in recent months. Back in September, the tiny nation had warned speculators that trading in Bitcoin is risky. While Singapore is not endorsing Bitcoin just yet, the Monetary Authority of Singapore )MAS) was told by the government that it should not regulate any virtual currency.
Indonesia Opening Doors
Being the fourth largest population in the world, Indonesia may play a bigger role in Bitcoin trading in years to come with the opening of a local exchange. Up until now, Indonesians faced many obstacles in Bitcoin trading through foreign exchanges like Mt. Gox. Account verification used to take months and the process often discouraged newcomers.
It is interesting to note this sleeping Asian giant as it is sometimes referred to has a telecommunications penetration rate of 102%. Being connected means that Indonesians can now look at alternative beyond the local currency (Indonesian rupiah), without the regulatory restriction of foreign exchange.
It is undoubtedly an exciting time for the southeast Asian Bitcoin scene. Despite Bitcoin bouncing back after the recent Chinese gloom, the mood in southeast Asia has been sombre. China’s actions had greatly contributed to Bitcoin halving in price within days and there was uncertainty if neighboring nations would follow suit.
But Singapore and Indonesia have turned the tables and brought a new found optimism to the Asian Bitcoin scene, in time for a festive end to the year. What the new year holds is yet to be seen but the sentiment of these two Asian nations is promising.