Although Indonesia is still a largely cash-based economy and a change to Bitcoin would require a difficult shift, the Asian country possesses the unique conditions that make it a good place where the digital currency could develop, says Forbes.
Is Bitcoin actually suitable for this country?
Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country, so it’s also home to a largely cash-based and offline community. That’s because 80% of the population still doesn’t have a bank account.
One of Bitcoin’s many advantages is that you’re not required to have a bank account. Bitcoin “fanatics” have long praised the digital currency for exactly this reason – it can bring an alternative form of money remittance and transfer to those who have got no access to traditional banking services.
According to Zac Cheah, CEO of blockchain startup Pundi X, this aspect and the fact that Indonesia doesn’t have a national credit lending system, coupled with a new wave of smartphones that’s invaded the Indonesian market, make the Asian country mature enough for a cryptocurrency revolution.
It’s a process that needs a lot of time
If this is the case, why hasn’t Indonesia become a Bitcoin heaven? Oscar Darmawan, CEO of Bitcoin Indonesia, the country’s major exchange which controls more than 70% of bitcoin transactions in the country, is sure that this thing takes time. He has noticed “exponential growth” in users of Bitcoin Indonesia’s marketplace platform, with a 1000% increase to 500,000 members within a two year time.
However, Darmawan observed that Bitcoin hasn’t yet caught the wider consumer’s eye. “To be honest, we have not even penetrated the 1% of the total population in Indonesia. The opportunity to grab an even bigger market is huge,” said the CEO of Bitcoin Indonesia.
Siddharth Sthalekar, founder and CEO of Sacred Capital, a firm which evaluates and rates blockchain companies and ICOs, is also convinced that Indonesia would make a great market, but the fact that no big investors chose other Southeast Asian countries turns the region into an outcast.