Indonesia Is the Perfect Market for Bitcoin to Grow
In another special coverage of the cryptocurrency movement in Indonesia, Oscar Darmawan shares his insights on bitcoin and how far Bitcoin.co.id has developed since we last covered it. You can read our exclusive interview with Oscar forBitcoin Indonesia in two parts here and here. The rise of bitcoin in Indonesia is steady. Let’s see what Oscar has to say:
Well, I have always believed in a lean business model so it did not take long for us to start our business. We first started our Bitcoin exchange based on a business model that was fairly similar with what would have been applied by a money changer. But in order to support a bigger and more liquid transaction, we decided to reform our business from a Bitcoin Brokerage to a Bitcoin Spot Exchange.
I have been involved with a lot of e-money transactions and businesses in the past few years. I was once a seasoned forex trader. I also had my hands on e-gold and liberty reserve which both got frozen by FBI. All my bad experiences with centralized e-money businesses made me realize that a true form of safe and global e-money would not be created if it keeps depending on a centralized system and its business nature. I also have been actively working full time in the IT area and cyber security industry for the last six years. Due to my background in finance and IT security, I have known Bitcoin since the early days and I instantly fell in love with it, especially with the Blockchain technology behind it.
If I must say, the best thing about my venture is how we can still be running profitable even though bitcoin volume transaction goes down globally last year. Unlike most of the startups which can only survive because of investor funds, we have been profitable since day one. We keep our business model as lean as possible while still maintaining our growth rate exponentially. We even paid dividends to our investors last month for company performance in 2015.
We have unfair advantages due to our background as seasoned entrepreneurs in Information Technology. We have been running our IT infrastructures and security businesses for six years, thus more experience on the field. We also have been very lucky to have Indonesia as our main market. Indonesia is a country with a lot of potential; we have more than 250 million people as our target with 80% of them is unbanked people. Therefore this market is the perfect market for Bitcoin to grow.
Our Mission Is to Help Indonesia Benefit from Cryptocurrency
This is the second part of our exclusive interview with Oscar Darmawan of Bitcoin Indonesia. If you missed the first part, you can read it here.
Coin News Asia: What do you consider have been the milestones while operating Bitcoin Indonesia?
Oscar Darmawan: Well, our company is still very young. We are only a 2-year-old company. But if I need to choose between our company milestones, I will choose the time when we successfully changed our business concept from money changer type of industry to a marketplace driven industry. Previously we were a market maker of Bitcoin and a single entity who provided liquidity of Bitcoin in Indonesia. At that time we thought that there would not be any future for us if we continued doing that type of business. Therefore, we changed our business into a marketplace which will allow any entity to become a market maker in our Bitcoin Exchange with no trading fee (0%).
CNA: Any thoughts on the gambling side of Bitcoin?
OD: Online gambling is an interesting market and one of the highest gross sales in any country but unfortunately, online gambling has been classified as illegal in Indonesia. Therefore, I cannot give any further comment about it until our government allow this type of business.
CNA: Do you think it is hypocritical when Bitcoin supporters who are critical of banks are also critical of altcoins?
OD: I think we need to clear this misunderstanding. Not all Bitcoin supporters are critical to banks nor to alternate coins. Our own exchange is currently working with banks instead of acting against them. We believe that in order to build the future for cryptocurrencies, we need to be able to coexist with the current financial system.
Yes, there are always possibilities for any superior altcoin to surpass Bitcoin in the near future especially if the markets support them. It is true that Bitcoin has a very high market cap currently but it’s just like how UDP protocol is slowly replaced by TCP protocol or HD versus Blu-ray; technologies continues to grow and always try to find the best solutions to fix the current problems. It is no different with Bitcoin. But I think currently Bitcoin will sit still on its throne due to its huge market cap.
CNA: We always like to ask this, but do you have a Bitcoin price prediction?
OD: I always think that the Bitcoin price will surpass $500 at any moment after this long dive but I do not think it will go more than $1000. There are too many whales who will cash out their Bitcoin when the price reaches $800 which will cause the price to go back down to $500. Bitcoin will be at its best in $500.
CAN: What can we expect from Bitcoin Indonesia in the near future?
OD: Our vision and mission is to help many Indonesia domestic workers experience the benefits from using the cryptocurrencies technology. Most of these domestic workers regularly send around or less than $500 every month back to their home country. I think the Bitcoin technology will really help them in this micro remittance market. By using Bitcoin, they may be able to receive more money than they normally do. The Blockchain system serves as a transparent ledger which also plays an important part in this ecosystem especially for auditing records purposes. One of our partners that focuses in this service is CoinPip—a startup which also supports remittance services to Indonesia by using Bitcoin as the underlying technology.
CNA: Finally, for those who are new to Bitcoin, do you have any suggestions?
OD: Try to understand the concept and to know more about its technology instead of drowning yourself in those negative assumptions that spread around in the market. The more you learn about it, the more you will fall in love with its concept. Like an old phrase: ‘try to empty your glass before you refill it.’
We are proud to be the top 15 biggest Bitcoin marketplaces in the world, and hopefully we will also be in the top 10 Bitcoin exchanges soon. We have also made Rupiah (our local currency) become one of the top Bitcoin currency trading pairs. I hope it will boost our country to get one part of this whole cake in this cryptocurrency technology ecosystem and eventually bring some income to our country.
CNA: Thank you very much for your participation, Oscar. Our team here at Coin News Asia appreciates it.