Jeth Soetoyo worked part-time at an American blockchain incubation lab, Consensys, when he was pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at Harvard Business School in 2017. It wasn’t long before cryptocurrencies and their development became a subject of intense interest for Soetoyo—and a path to forming his own business.
Like other crypto evangelists, Soetoyo believes that global finance will be rebuilt on the top of the blockchain in an open and decentralized way. To play his part, Soetoyo started a crypto trading and investment platform called Pintu in 2019. “We have seen some major progress in terms of Bitcoin adoption in Indonesia recently, whereby big corporates, institutional investors, or even major banks are starting to look into it as a new product offering,” Soetoyo told KrASIA.
Bitcoin had a bumpy start in Indonesia. It is still banned by Bank Indonesia as a form of payment, and the trading of bitcoin and crypto assets as commodities was only legalized in February 2019. Nonetheless, cryptocurrencies are starting to gain traction in the country, especially this year, with more people keeping an open mind for new investment options.
There are thousands of types of cryptocurrencies. The most popular in Indonesia are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Tether, according to Pintu’s internal research.
It is not clear exactly how many people hold those coins in Indonesia, but 11% of internet users in Indonesia own some form of crypto, according to a report published by global social media marketing firm We Are Social and HootSuite in January.
Aside from Pintu, a few other startups have obtained licenses from Indonesia’s Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (Bappebti) to operate crypto trading platforms, like Indodax and TokoCrypto. Investment startup Pluang also started offering Bitcoin and Ethereum investment options on its platform recently.
“Crypto is a very popular investment today as there are more crypto users than stock market users in Indonesia. It is becoming more mainstream and accepted by governments around the world. Here, Bappebti works closely with fintech players to figure out how best to regulate the space,” Pluang CEO Claudia Kolonas told KrASIA.