Signs of Growing Crypto Adoption in Indonesia

Cryptocurrency investment in Indonesia has seen tremendous growth between 2020 and 2022, with 4% of the country’s population having invested in crypto.

In 2021, crypto trading volumes topped $34 billion, according to Indonesia’s commodity futures trading regulatory agency.

This growth has formed a new mindset towards crypto investing, especially in mainstream media. An example of the growing mainstream appeal of cryptocurrencies is the participation of Indonesian celebrities and influencers.

Celebrity Crypto Adoption

Celebrities and influencers in Indonesia seem to have become much more involved in the Indonesian crypto investment industry since 2021.

Many have become brand ambassadors for crypto exchanges and projects to help promote them and essentially increase trading volume.

The participation of individuals such as Joe Taslim, an Indonesian actor-turned-global, and Indonesian models and actresses Jessica Iskandar and Shandy Aulia is perhaps unsurprising, given the inescapable presence of celebrities in advertising and brand image.

Some celebrities have even created their own cryptocurrency.

The celebrity token trend has exploded, especially after one of Indonesia’s hottest musicians, Anang Hermansyah, created his own token.

Three tokens went viral in Indonesia in February 2022: VCG (VCG), Asix (ASIX), and I-Coin (ICN).

Asix is ​​headed by Anang Hermansyah, a prominent figure in the Indonesian music industry.

VCG went viral through a partnership with RANS Entertainment. This company is owned by Raffi Ahmad and Nagita Slavina, a married couple who are prominent movie stars and businessmen in Indonesia and were recently named Sultans of Contents by Forbes Indonesia.

I-Coin was created by Wirda Mansur, a public figure and daughter of a famous Indonesian Islamic cleric.

The name of the celebrity endorsers and their marketing team made their token go viral and sparked a lot of fear of missing something, or FOMO, from rookie investors in Indonesia.

But, long before these, the trend started with an influencer named Indra Kenz, who created his own token with his team named Botxcoin (BOTX).

Related: Indonesia’s Crypto Industry in 2021: A Kaleidoscope

Famous NFT Projects

BOTX, an Ethereum-based project that plans to be a decentralized social trading platform, launched in 2021.

BOTX is the first celebrity token in Indonesia and its goal is to become the first decentralized crypto copy exchange platform in Indonesia.

After its launch, influencers seemed to pay more attention to the growing blockchain and crypto trend. The trend has led to an array of influencers talking about cryptocurrency on their own social media.

When this happened, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) also became very popular in Indonesia, especially when the Indonesian NFT collection dubbed “Ghozali Everyday” became globally known for its uniqueness.

Due to the rise of crypto and NFT trends, influencers and celebrities have started creating their own NFT and cryptocurrency projects.

One Indonesian celebrity who created her own NFT projects and went viral around the world was Syahrini, an Indonesian singer and socialite.

Under the pseudonym Princess Syahrini, she created an NFT collection and sold them on Binance’s NFT marketplace. Her “Syahrini’s Metaverse Tour” NFT collection was reported to have sold out after just eight hours of listing.

Actress, model and singer Luna Maya is another prominent figure in the Indonesian entertainment industry who has created her own NFT project.

She launched her collection consisting of just 10 NFTs with Tokau, a Japan-based art company that has experience creating NFTs.

His collection was sold on the BakerySwap NFT market and caught lots of attention, including from Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance.

The trend continued with more celebrities in Indonesia exploring, promoting and creating their own NFT projects.

Actor Brandon Salim, famous Indonesian chef Arnold Poernomo and influencer known as Jejouw are an example of recent Indonesian influencers and celebrities promoting NFT projects.

They promoted one of the most successful NFT projects in Indonesia that went global, “Karafuru”, which has a current trading volume of 37,200 Ether (ETH).

Government Response

With the hype of celebrities creating their own NFT and crypto projects, regulators are stepping in to protect investors.

The Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency, also known as BAPPEBTI, currently warns celebrities to have their projects approved in the Indonesian crypto legal list before promoting them.

BAPPEBTI, which is responsible for crypto regulation in Indonesia, warns that there are only 229 cryptocurrencies that are legal for trade and transactions in Indonesia.

By this disclaimer, BAPPEBTI wants investors to understand that buying or selling tokens created by celebrities in Indonesia is not yet legal. The warning comes from a Twitter thread, created when new investors started to pay celebrity viral token money:

“New crypto assets that are going to be traded in Indonesia must be registered under BAPPEBTI through crypto exchanges registered in Indonesia to be assessed under the rules applied in Indonesia. For this reason, crypto assets that have not been registered on BAPPEBTI’s legal list of crypto assets cannot be traded in Indonesia.

At present, most of the illegal cryptocurrencies have not been fined or sentenced, as most of them are in talks with BAPPEBTI. BAPPEBTI is open to new cryptos to be legal in Indonesia, as long as they want to comply with the requirements and processes to be legal and be supervised by the agency.

Currently, there has been no talk of banning these tokens from the government, but rather inviting these tokens to be listed as a legal commodity in Indonesia.

BAPPEBTI has also worked with its committees such as the Indonesia Blockchain Association to help create a better environment for crypto in Indonesia, especially with the rise of celebrity tokens.

Coinvestasi managed to get a comment from the aforementioned committee on the topic of celebrity tokens.

The comment came directly from the president of the Indonesia Blockchain Association. She said:

“My view on the trend of celebrity tokens in Indonesia is neutral as long as they follow the relevant regulations, because over the past two years many Indonesians have created their own cryptocurrencies. But what I think is important for Indonesian developers to understand is that their cryptocurrencies must have values ​​for investors and users and must have something that differentiates them from other existing cryptocurrencies. Indeed, they have a responsibility towards their investors and token holders. Developers need to work together to help change the mindset of cryptocurrencies as a scam in Indonesia.

This statement clearly shows that the government wants the best for investors and creators of crypto in Indonesia. It can be concluded that the Indonesian government supports the growth of cryptocurrencies as long as it is done in a regulated and safe manner.

Growing Crypto Adoption in Indonesia

The trend of celebrities and influencers teaming up to create and promote crypto projects has widened the crypto landscape in Indonesia.

The data showed that the growth has been exponential, reaching over 100% growth in trading volumes since 2020, largely supported by retail investors.

Institutions have also shown interest, as evidenced by their participation in funding and investing in blockchain or crypto-related projects.

Major trading conglomerate Sinar Mas has backed the launch of a new cryptocurrency named NanoByte (NBT), which has Tokocrypto exchange as a partner.

Nanobyte is a token created by an exchange that also plans to be integrated into the current fiat payment system, integrating with e-money and credit cards in Indonesia. This is to help investors and holders use their crypto and NBT wallets to pay for their daily needs.

Another example is BRI Ventures, the venture capital arm of one of Indonesia’s leading state-owned banks, which has created an accelerator that serves as an incubator for Indonesian blockchain companies to scale globally.

These projects could trigger a domino effect among Indonesian financial institutions to invest in the blockchain or crypto sector.

But it’s also pushing regulators to craft new regulations to support growth so Indonesia isn’t left behind.

Reporting by Muhammad Naufal.

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