Binance considers crypto venture with Indonesia's Hartonos family and telecom operator

Partnership would spur wider adoption of cryptocurrencies in Indonesia, where the rupiah is the only legal tender

Indonesia’s government is supportive of crypto assets, allowing them to be traded alongside commodity futures as an investment option. Reuters

Binance Holdings is in talks with Indonesia’s richest family, the Hartonos, and a state-owned telecom operator to set up a cryptocurrency trading exchange, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The world’s largest crypto exchange has been in discussions about the venture with PT Bank Central Asia, controlled by sibling billionaires Budi and Michael Hartono, and PT Telkom Indonesia, the people said.

A partnership between Binance, BCA and the country’s largest telecom operator would spur wider adoption of cryptocurrencies in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, where many adults have little access to bank lending and other forms of formal finance.

Apart from the bank, the Hartonos also own a major cigarette manufacturer, a telecom-services company as well as e-commerce businesses.

A deal would give Binance a greater foothold in the rapidly developing economy, while allowing the nation’s most powerful businessmen to get involved in digital currencies.

BCA may form the partnership with Binance through another related entity, one of the people said. Discussions are ongoing and terms of the deal may change, the people said.

A Binance representative declined to comment on the discussions.

“We are supportive of the sustainable growth of the blockchain industry globally and we are constantly looking at business opportunities in every country,” the representative said.

Quote
We are supportive of the sustainable growth of the blockchain industry globally and we are constantly looking at business opportunities in every country
Binance representative

Telkom Indonesia is studying new opportunities to partner with top players through its venture-capital arm MDI Ventures, especially considering the potential in the blockchain and crypto markets and the opportunity to leverage the group’s connectivity capabilities, said Ahmad Reza, the company's vice president of corporate communications and investor relations.

A representative from BCA said the lender had not discussed such a strategic investment at its board meeting.

Indonesia’s government has been supportive of crypto assets, allowing them to be traded alongside commodity futures as an investment option, and pushing to set up a crypto-focused exchange by the end of the year. The nation does not allow the use of crypto assets as a form of currency, because the rupiah is the only legal tender in the country.

Updated: December 10th 2021, 9:20 AM