Bitcoin is a digital asset and a payment system invented by Satoshi Nakamoto. The system is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary – meaning, no banks! Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros, but can be used to buy things electronically.
I spoke with Tiyo Triyanto, Country Head BitX Indonesia regarding the latest development of Bitcoin in Indonesia. “BitX is an exciting new tech company working in the cryptocurrency/Bitcoin space, one of the fastest growing (and most exciting) sectors in Silicon Valley,” he said. “We’re investing more in the market through market education, dedicated Bahasa Indonesia customer support, localizing our products, and have also just opened our new office in Jakarta.”
Tiyo is a bitcoin enthusiast since early 2013, quickly he established the biggest mining farm in Indonesia and was featured in TechCrunch. Later he cofounded RedFury, USB bitcoin miner and sold $1,000,000 worth of hardware in 20 days.
What do people use Bitcoin for in Indonesia?
At BitX, our aim is to make it easy for people to buy/sell Bitcoin and store it securely. At this stage buying Bitcoin as an investment is one of many use cases globally and in Indonesia and by doing that, in some sense it’s really just a way for people to learn more about this new financial system.
More people are starting to explore Bitcoin as an alternative safe asset to own. This is because returns are uncorrelated and performance has been better than other currencies in the past couple of years.
In Indonesia, the use case is not very different. People want to own Bitcoin as an uncorrelated asset with potentially huge investment upside.
What we’re seeing in a number of markets is a lot of strong institutional interest for Bitcoin and we expect the same to happen in Indonesia.
A number of private wealth managers and hedge funds reach out to us wanting to buy Bitcoin for their customers and aiming to put a percentage of their asset holdings in Bitcoin. BitX has been working with such clients to help execute these investments and customers trust us due to our strong focus on security.
Once enough people have Bitcoin, commerce becomes easier and seamless. Already we see a number of people using Bitcoin to conduct commerce, send to their friends, etc. Bitcoin is at a very early stage in its evolution, similar to where the Internet was in ‘92 – ’93. Hence, by investing in Bitcoin at such an early stage is almost like ‘investing’ in the early internet.
Where can I spend Bitcoin?
Merchants who accept bitcoin are definitely still lagging in Indonesia compared to other places, but there is adoption taking place slowly.
Globally, there are over 100.000 merchants who already accepting bitcoin and over 2.500.000 items can be bought using bitcoin. Examples of Indonesian merchants that accept Bitcoin include Rakatan.com, Kinerja Pay, mautuku.com, Toko Bitcoin, etc.
How many Bitcoin users in Indonesia?
Globally, Bitcoin is gaining increasing popularity and the US, EU, and Japan have led the way in Bitcoin regulation and adoption. We are seeing the same for Indonesia. In general, Bitcoin transactions on the network has increased 140% in the past year. This year, a number of factors have played into the significant price gain we have seen in Bitcoin. Key among them would be 1) more favourable media coverage around the benefits rather than risks around Bitcoin 2) Better understanding by consumers and increasing interest 3) More regulatory certainty (such as Japan, New York, EU) 4) More institutional interest (long term/uncorrelated investment) 5) Broad economic uncertainty around the world.
At BitX, we have seen good growth since launching. Our customer base has increased 10X in the past few months and we’re growing really fast. We’re investing more in the market through market education, dedicated Bahasa Indonesia customer support, localizing our products, and have also just opened our new office in Jakarta.