Indonesians are increasingly embracing the digital currency known as bitcoin as a payment solution for online transactions and to send and receive money, despite some known flaws.
The cryptocurrency’s price fluctuate dramatically, for instance, and fears about cyberattack on the software that manage Bitcoin holdings have led to questions about whether it’s a safe way to store money.
But in a country where many people don’t have bank accounts or credit cards, and money transfers often involve high transactions fees, more individuals are overlooking the criticisms and focusing on how to use the technology to their benefit.
Most Indonesians currently use bitcoin to pay for services online, such as web hosting. They can also use the digital currency to book hotel rooms through travel websites hosted overseas rather than use credit cards, which only a small percentage of the population currently own.
“Many people think that Bitcoin is unheard of in Indonesia, but the fact is its popularity is soaring now,” said Oscar Darmawan, CEO of PT Bit Coin Indonesia, which owns bitcoin exchange site Bitcoin.co.id.
Indonesia’s central bank doesn’t recognize bitcoin as a legal form of currency and has warned people to use it at their own risk, but a number of startups have formed or are offering bitcoin services to Southeast Asia’s largest economy to take advantage of its growing popularity. Here’s a look at three.
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