Cryptocurrency investments in Indonesia have seen significant growth between 2020 and 2022, with 4% of the country’s population investing in crypto.
In 2021, crypto transaction volume surpassed $34 billion, according to Indonesia’s commodity futures regulator.
This growth has created a new mindset towards crypto investing, particularly in the mainstream media. An example of the growing mainstream appeal of cryptocurrencies is the participation of Indonesian celebrities and influencers.
Crypto Adoption Among Celebrities
Celebrities and influencers in Indonesia seem to have gotten much more involved in Indonesia’s crypto investment industry since 2021.
Many have become brand ambassadors for exchanges and crypto projects to promote them and significantly increase trading volume.
The participation of the likes of Joe Taslim, a global Indonesian actor, and Indonesian models and actresses Jessica Iskandar and Shandy Aulia may not come as a surprise given the inevitable presence of celebrities in advertising and branding.
Some celebrities have even created their own cryptocurrency.
The trend of celebrity tokens has boomed, especially after one of Indonesia’s most prominent musicians, Anang Hermansyah, created his own token.
Three tokens have gone viral in Indonesia since February 2022: VCG (VCG), Asix (ASIX) and I-Coin (ICN).
Asix is managed by Anang Hermansyah, a prominent figure in the Indonesian music industry.
VCG went viral thanks to a partnership with RANS Entertainment. This company is owned by Raffi Ahmad and Nagita Slavina, a couple who are prominent movie stars and businessmen in Indonesia and were recently nominated Sultans of Contents by Forbes Indonesia.
I-Coin was created by Wirda Mansur, a socialite and daughter of a well-known Indonesian Islamic cleric.
The name of the celebrities who are backing her and her marketing team has made their token viral and caused a great deal of fear of missing out or FOMO among Indonesia’s new investors.
But long before these, the trend started with an influencer named Indra Kenz creating his own token with his team called Botxcoin (BOTX).
Prominent NFT projects
BOTX, an Ethereum-based project that aims to be a decentralized social trading platform, was launched in 2021.
BOTX is the first celebrity token in Indonesia and its goal is to become the first decentralized copy trading platform for crypto in Indonesia.
After its launch, influencers seemed to pay more attention to the growing blockchain and crypto trend. The trend saw a number of influencers talk 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 called “Ghozali Everyday” became known worldwide for its uniqueness.
Due to the booming 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 worldwide was Syahrini, an Indonesian singer and socialite.
Under the pseudonym Princess Syahrini, she created a collection of NFTs and sold them on Binance’s NFT marketplace. It was reported that her NFT collection “Syahrini’s Metaverse Tour” sold out just eight hours after listing.
Another prominent figure in Indonesian entertainment industry who started her own NFT project was actress, model and singer Luna Maya.
She launched her collection, which consists of just 10 NFTs, with Tokau, a Japan-based art company experienced in NFT creation.
The trend continued with more celebrities in Indonesia exploring, promoting and creating their own NFT projects.
An example of recent Indonesian influencers and celebrities promoting NFT projects was actor Brandon Salim, renowned Indonesian chef Arnold Poernomo, and the influencer known as Jejouw.
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).
With the hype surrounding celebrities developing their own NFT and crypto ventures spiraling out of control, regulators are stepping in to protect investors.
The Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency, also known as BAPPEBTI, is currently warning celebrities to get their projects approved in Indonesia’s list of legal cryptos before promoting them.
BAPPEBTI, which is responsible for regulating crypto in Indonesia, warns that there are only 229 cryptocurrencies that can be legally traded and settled in Indonesia.
With this warning, BAPPEBTI wants investors to understand that buying or selling celebrity created tokens is not yet legal in Indonesia. The warning comes from a Twitter thread that arose when new investors were getting started to water Money Into Viral Celebrity Tokens:
“New crypto assets to be traded in Indonesia should be registered under BAPPEBTI through registered crypto exchanges in Indonesia to be evaluated according to the rules applicable in Indonesia. For this reason, crypto assets that are not registered on BAPPEBTI’s list of legal crypto assets cannot be traded in Indonesia.”
Until now, most of the illegal cryptocurrencies have not been fined or convicted 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 meet the requirements and processes to be legal and agency overseen.
Currently, there is no talk of banning these tokens from the government, but rather an invitation to list these tokens as a legal commodity in Indonesia.
BAPPEBTI has also worked with its committees like the Indonesia Blockchain Association to help create a better environment for crypto in Indonesia, especially with the rise of celebrity tokens.
Coinvestasi has successfully received a comment from the above celebrity token committee.
The comment came directly from the Chair of the Indonesia Blockchain Association. She remarked:
“My view on the celebrity token trend in Indonesia is neutral as long as they comply with the existing regulations, because in recent years many Indonesians have created their own cryptocurrencies. But I think it’s important for Indonesian developers to understand that their cryptocurrencies have value for investors and users and must have something that differentiates them from other existing cryptocurrencies. This is because they have a responsibility to their investors and token holders. Developers must work together to help change the mindset of cryptocurrencies as a scam in Indonesia.”
This statement clearly shows that the government wants what is best for crypto investors and creators in Indonesia. From this it can be concluded that the Indonesian government supports the growth of cryptocurrencies as long as it is done in a regulated and secure manner.
Growing crypto adoption in Indonesia
The trend of celebrities and influencers teaming up to create and promote crypto projects has made Indonesia’s crypto landscape bigger.
The data showed that the growth has been exponential, reaching more than 100% growth in transaction volume since 2020, largely supported by retail investors.
Institutions have also shown interest, as evidenced by their involvement in funding and investing in blockchain or crypto-related projects.
Major business conglomerate Sinar Mas backed the launch of a new cryptocurrency called NanoByte (NBT), partnered with Tokocrypto Exchange.
Nanobyte is a token created by an exchange that also aims to integrate with the current fiat payment system and integrates with e-money and credit cards in Indonesia. This is to help investors and holders use their crypto wallets and NBT to pay for their daily needs.
Another example is BRI Ventures, the venture arm of one of Indonesia’s leading state banks, which has created an accelerator that acts as an incubator for Indonesian blockchain companies to grow globally.
These projects could create a domino effect for Indonesian financial institutions to invest in the blockchain or crypto sector.
However, this is also putting pressure on regulators to come up with new regulations to support growth so Indonesia doesn’t lag behind.
Reporting by Muhammad Naufal.
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