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Indonesian Governor sees potential in Bitcoin & renewable energy

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Ridwan Kamil, the Governor of West Java Provincial Government in Indonesia and a candidate for the nation’s coming election expressed his views on Bitcoin and its potential impact on the country. The Governor at the Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami discussed his insights and aspirations for Indonesia’s future.

Governor Kamil learned about Bitcoin five to six years ago and recognized it as a digital disruption in the form of a decentralized digital currency. He emphasized the democratic nature of Bitcoin and the importance of leaders fully understanding it in order to formulate policies that benefit the public interest. Governor Kamil is a leader who understands and adapts to digital disruption. He affirmed that he is using artificial intelligence to fight corruption and employed blockchain technology in his coffee business.

The Governor is optimistic about the transformative power of Bitcoin for Indonesia, especially in the mining sector. Indonesia is an energy-rich country, with significant potential for Bitcoin mining, he mentioned. He highlighted the country has the second-largest geothermal capacity in the world and abundant hydropower resources. 

Governor Kamil stated that Indonesia is currently ranked seventh globally in Bitcoin adoption. He suggested that Bitcoin mining companies can take advantage of the country’s renewable energy reserves, including solar, wind, and geothermal sources.

Regulation and the Future of Bitcoin Adoption in Indonesia

To attract Bitcoin mining companies to Indonesia, Governor Kamil mentioned the recently passed Omnibus Law, which allows energy projects above one megawatt to be fully funded by private sectors. He highlighted the potential for creating a renewable energy infrastructure specifically dedicated to Bitcoin mining. Governor Kamil expressed his belief that Bitcoin mining could contribute to affordable energy prices by utilizing excess power during periods of low demand.

While Bitcoin payments are currently restricted, the Governor expressed openness to exploring Bitcoin as a payment mechanism, particularly to address the challenge of financial inclusivity for the unbanked population. He recognized the potential benefits of faster transactions, lower fees, and cross-border capabilities offered by Bitcoin. Governor Kamil also expressed interest in Bitcoin-friendly tourism initiatives and experiments in micro and small-medium enterprise projects.

Further, he emphasized the need for a strong regulatory framework and risk protection measures to ensure the safe implementation of Bitcoin as a form of payment. He also stressed the importance of finding a balance between government control and individual transaction freedom. Governor Kamil expressed his hope that, with time, Bitcoin payments will become a reality in Indonesia.

While individuals in Indonesia are investing in Bitcoin, considering it as a reserve asset for the country is a bit complicated,  the Governor stated. He noted that Indonesia currently holds reserves in gold and other forms, but he believed that the understanding and acceptance of Bitcoin would take time, as is the case with any ‘disruption’. Kamil invited Bitcoin enthusiasts and investors to explore the potential of Indonesia as a Bitcoin-friendly nation, envisioning a future where the nation becomes a haven for Bitcoin.

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