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I LOVED chatting with Kai. I have such a deep love for Indonesia – the food, the people, and the ocean – it’s all amazing. So, I was so excited to learn about the crypto landscape in Indonesia.
Indonesia is interesting geographically – as Kai mentioned, it’s made up of over 17,000 islands. Its crypto hub is Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. However, cryptocurrency is still being adopted by people on the smaller islands.
Kai also talked about Indonesian governmental support of crypto. He says the Indonesian government is all for the blockchain movement. Kai talked about the oxygen crisis in Indonesia, being part of the Oxygen for Indonesia project, and how the blockchain is helping to track oxygen tanks.
Anyways, you really just need to listen to the episode. Check out the video below!
Stay weird and I’ll see ya on the internet ✌️
We are taking a virtual trip over to Indonesia to learn about the Indonesian crypto landscape from Pang Xue Kai, CEO of Tokocrypto. Amy Tom asks Kai about how the crypto community connects across islands, about crypto adoption in Indonesia, and more. ✨
On this episode of The HackerNoon Podcast:
- What is crypto adoption like in Indonesia? (03:20) 💛
- Does the Indonesian government support cryptocurrency adoption? 🇮🇩 (10:00)
- What are the barriers to entry into the Indonesian crypto market? ⛔️ (12:59)
- How did Tokocrypto start? 🌻 (17:50)
- What goes into creating a growth strategy? 🏋️♀️ (24:20)
- What is the culture like at Tokocrypto? 👨👩👧👧 (30:03)
Connect with Pang Xue Kai & Tokocrypto:
[00:00:00] Amy: Ooh, let’s take a trip across the pond this week and go over to Indonesia. And now I haven’t been into Indonesia in a long time and I love it. There it’s so much fun and I am really interested in checking out the crypto landscape over in Asia. So I have invited Pang Xue Kai to the podcast today. He is the CEO of Toko crypto.
Thank you so much for joining us, Kai. How are you doing?
[00:00:29] Pang Xue Kai: Thank you for having me for this podcast. I’m doing well. Thanks.
[00:00:34] Amy: I don’t know how to do Raleigh venture, that this is the hacker noon podcast. And my name is Amy Tom. So thanks so much for tuning in today. Kai, I want to ask you a few questions about what it’s like with the crypto landscape in Indonesia.
So to start off I have a few questions for you. Have you been to America before, first of all,
[00:00:59] Pang Xue Kai: yes. Yeah, I’ve been to America. When I was a lot younger a couple of times my parents have a few close family, friends in America. I’ve been to San Francisco. I’ve been to Reno. Yeah, I think those are the two places that I still remember, but that was like a really long time ago.
I really liked it there. The weather was very nice and I had had a good time.
[00:01:18] Amy: Okay. I ask because I’m wondering what your level of knowledge is of the crypto industry in America versus what it’s like in Indonesia?
[00:01:29] Pang Xue Kai:
So I think the underlying fundamental difference is that in Indonesia crypto is regulated. Under the commodities and they’re with this agency while, in America it’s regulated by a totally different agency. So as the asset is classified as a commodity the fundamental regulation that surrounds it is very much different from how America would regard it.
In a sense, there’s perhaps more leeway for business peers to really explore in terms of regulatory partnership, because it doesn’t fall under the S, the equivalent of the SEC in America. Yeah. So I don’t know the full extent of Americas regulation. I guess America has regulations, but in Indonesia, at least crypto is currently regarded as a commodity.
So the current regulatory landscape built itself on the existing commodities infrastructure, which involves clearing house, a crypto custodian, a futures exchange, as well as a kind of a trader of crypto in essence, which is what I proposed.
[00:02:42] Amy: What do you think that the general overall adoption of crypto has been like in Indonesia?
[00:02:47] Pang Xue Kai: Definitely it has grown a lot over the past couple of years, I would say I believe back in 2018 when I first started toko crypto, I think the total number. Use this or the total number of exchange rate exchange accounts. Basically people have a continent on a exchange. It was close to about one to two, maybe 1.5 billion.
But right now, based on what the government is reporting, there’s close to about 6.5 million people that has has an account on a cryptocurrency exchange. There’s more than the number of people that are actually on the stock exchange. So Y so the level of penetration is of crypto is definitely a lot higher than that.
What it is for, like I mentioned, for the traditional stock exchange part of which is because of the ease of ease of access, right? Because when you want to open an account on a cryptocurrency exchange, or you wanna open a cryptocurrency wallet, it’s so much easier, you can do it from your smartphone and as compared to having to open a condom and stocks exchange.
And definitely there’s been a lot of hype. There’s been a lot of news that’s going on in Indonesia, a lot of big influence. Starting to come into this space. I don’t know if Luna Maya, one of the top, top Lonestar influencer in Indonesia. She’s actually creating our own anarchy.
And when we need your atmosphere, it’s a following of like 40 million, which is like close to. 30% of Indonesia’s population. So yeah, definitely the adoption or the awareness of crypto is there. And in, in though, with the inclusion of the influences of Indonesia, the ease of access, it definitely has grown to quite a sizeable amount.
[00:04:43] Amy: I don’t know how to ask this, but where do you think that the crypto hype physically lives is the crypto center Jakarta?
[00:04:52] Pang Xue Kai: Yeah, based on the stats and data that we have at, for crypto the largest amount of people actually comes from Jakarta. And after that, it floats down to the other tier one cities.
Set up by a med Don body, of course there’s a big, there’s a big crypto nomad community in Bali and the exciting thing is that I think there is a potential for, to turn Bali into a crypto. Because of the awareness of of people around the world of body as a international travel spot.
It’s primed to be this this Yeah, this cripple hub where people can come, people can exchange thoughts. People can view their ideas. We’d be adding blockchain projects from value. That’s why as well, we have really started our plans to start muting crypto. And Bali, hopefully by 2022, early 20, 22, we can have something, with the COVID quarantine restrictions.
We do a thing. Maybe you might consider coming back to Bali.
[00:05:55] Amy: Oh, I would definitely consider coming back to volley. I’m basically just waiting for you to open your border for me. That’s cool. Yeah, I actually, I can see what you mean. I think Bali would be a really cool, interesting spot for ex-pats to get into crypto.
Yeah, that’s really cool. And that’s very interesting. And what does crypto adoption like in I areas of Indonesia that are not tier one cities.
[00:06:23] Pang Xue Kai: So the need for tier one I’ll tell Q1, we’re looking at tier two cities perhaps I would say maybe my lung or my Casa. Yeah, it’s still restricted, like the, in terms of the access.
People don’t have that level of awareness now, but I think definitely as part of the initiative global crypto education, to make sure that crypto industry in Indonesia continues to grow right. It’s the same for everywhere around the world. Education and knowledge is key and. Us, we do realize that there is a need to basically build up the knowledge that people have of this industry, because.
If you have a lack of knowledge that makes you subset susceptible to scams, frites, and hacks. We just recently heard that there’s a big major hack that happened on one of the big cryptocurrency projects out there. It makes you susceptible though. So in order to prevent those, we want to prevent those because of the occurrence of these these bad events in ultimately with damage to entire.
People’s perception of the entire of crypto, right? Yeah. In engineering, but both started as people use it for money laundering. I believe you watch the show start-up on Netflix, the English version where, people were trying to moneylender who through Bitcoin, but, we just to.
Make sure that we properly educate people that, how do they avoid these kinds of things and also properly educate business owners, as well as the regulators that, how do they play their parts, who will to basically ensure the security of the space? So yeah, I think in terms of Yeah, for tier two cities.
Yeah, that’s something that’s snacking and that’s something that we’re trying to push through our outreach program, where we created applications for people to learn about cryptocurrency in though we have this app called crypto varsity. So yeah, those are a lot of our initiatives that we’re pushing out, collaborating with universities.
Just to have a module on, on. So I think those are the things that, it’s pretty interesting and it’s happening in indoors because of the because of the support might’ve gotten, which we’re seeing right now.
[00:08:27] Amy: Yeah.
[00:08:27] Pang Xue Kai: It’s pretty interesting because I’ve not seen a country that has been so supportive of the entire movement. So we work with various different ministries. One of which is the ministry of industry. I’m sure you’ve heard Indonesia is currently going through a oxygen crisis as of Tuesday.
Yes, 182 hospitals. Are yet only have 12 hours of oxygen left. So it’s a crisis for Indonesia. And they were trying to stay up hot trying to bring in oxygen tanks and she didn’t see it in this from Singapore. But, Indonesia being in a way it is, you’ve got to track it.
If not, it’s just going to go missing because of the lack of, so we create the, like a blockchain tracker for the ministry to use in order to track the movement. The utilization of the oxygen and basically just to help them with their entire process of getting oxygen to the hospital, those that actually need them,
[00:09:27] Amy: wait what does that have to do with the blockchain?
[00:09:31] Pang Xue Kai: Oh, so it allows it to be open and transparent. So obviously for people that are doing neat thing they want to see that the funds. Being donated or the items that have been donated, I E the oxygen, the big ISO oxygen tanks, they’re not just used for other purposes, but actually used, or the purpose that it was intended to.
So by using the blockchain we’re able to upload it and then everyone can be able to track its location and it’s utilized.
[00:10:01] Amy: Oh, wow. Okay. I didn’t know that was possible.
[00:10:06] Pang Xue Kai: Yeah. Yeah. And on this note, I also want to land a plug here. I shared a bit about the oxygen crisis and indoor eye.
And anyone who’s hearing this wants to donate and how there’s actually a cost that’s. That there’s a campaign here we’re turning and running. It’s between it’s amongst a group of startups in Indonesia. It’s called oxygen for Indonesia. You can check it [email protected] We’re looking to raise funds to buy oxygen concentrators for Indonesia.
So for whoever is listening to the podcast, this head over there, check it out and do consider helping in any way.
[00:10:44] Amy: Cool. Yeah. Send me that link and I will put it in the show notes of the episode so everyone can go check that out. Cool. So the reason I was asking you about the difference between the adoption and the tier one cities versus the tier two cities is because I think that one of the things that might differ in crypto landscape between America and Indonesia is like the wealth, right?
Because. Let’s be honest, America is a more wealthy country than Indonesia is. And so in smaller cities that are more, perhaps more poverty dish where people don’t have as much disposable income to invest into cryptocurrency. Yeah. I was wondering if there was like lack of adoption in these smaller areas.
[00:11:26] Pang Xue Kai: Actually, no not the not really true because to enter into crypto. The barriers of entry is very low, on Toko and 10 us dollars in order to enter and you buy in . Liberal issue, which is 20, 20,000 IDR leukemia, which comes to about a dollar 70 in us dollars.
So it’s the barrier to entry is very low. So we don’t see that. So our ticket size would have traits on the exchange, which, which would be from city. For no idea cities, we do still see people that are trading off a smaller amount as also this advent of this concept called play your own.
I think it also initially originated from. In the Philippines this gain it’s really hype there, and there’s this story that has been going that people over that they were unemployed because of the COVID situation. They couldn’t find work, but they turned towards this game and they were managed to.
Their income. And this is something that we’re seeing in Indonesia as well, especially so far, tier two cities, they’re coming on board because you’re looking for avenues to earn more income, to subsidize for the lack of income that’s coming in because of the COVID situation. Yeah they don’t need to treat crypto, but he can play, say a crypto game and they can participate in a crypto economy to basically get the rewards of crypto.
[00:12:52] Amy: Yeah. Yeah. That kind of goes back to what you were saying about accessibility and education. Yeah. Yeah. So what do you think, how do you, how can we make crypto more accessible?
[00:13:06] Pang Xue Kai: Eh, obviously and when you talk about a digital product, it’s about usability, the user in the face customer experience, right?
I always like to use this code, that this quote that I have heard many times. So I also like to call it for people, whenever you say you use the lift or you Basically, yeah. The things inside our lives that are powered by technology that you didn’t even know existed. Do you know what policy, the policy, your lift when you press it and how does it connect to basically, how does it read that you want to go to level eight and then you know, that all should open.
Our vision at Toko is always that, we feel that crypto is going to be here to stay. And one day people are going to be using it, living in those slash blockchain. Like people are going to be living at using it. And in it, they don’t even gonna know that it’s Dunkin or crypto that’s part it.
[00:14:01] Amy: yeah. It’s going to be as common as elevator technology.
[00:14:06] Pang Xue Kai: Exciting. I believe that’s the way that it should be once it gets to that stage, people are just gonna, it’s going to reach a mass adoption. Yeah.
[00:14:16] Amy: Cool. Okay. So tell me more about Toko crypto, how many people work for Toko crypto and yeah.
How many people.
[00:14:27] Pang Xue Kai: All right. So currently the organization is. Slightly more than a hundred and yeah, we have all the bulk of all the talent is in Indonesia. We do have people from outside Indonesia as well. Singapore is one of the areas that we have quite a number of talents.
We have talents and Vietnam and Malaysia as well. So yeah it’s been an exciting journey. Onboard everyone into this gigantic family that we have right now. Cool.
[00:14:58] Amy: And as the CEO, are you also the.
[00:15:02] Pang Xue Kai: Yeah. So I’m one of the co-founders that started Toko crypto back in 28 then I’m the one that’s Buting and mainly running the entire team, building the team, doing the product and the ethical founders have, yeah.
Transitioned into a more advisory role who help and they have been very helpful and resourceful and assisting taco crypto in the form of regulatory advice in the form of w we’re trying to be, we are trying to make crypto mainstream. We’re trying to make cryptology dimension.
Sure. The institutionalization of some of the products that we have trying to make it legit and mainstream in indoc. So yeah, they, they advise a lot on that. We got advisers on tech as well as security, of course, as well as marketing yeah. Cool.
[00:15:51] Amy: When you started Toko crypto in 2018, what was the crypto landscape like in Indonesia?
[00:16:00] Pang Xue Kai: Yeah, it was so there was previously, there was a bigger player in, there was a previous there as a, as an exchange it’s called, what’s called Bitcoin dot Kuwait. I thought ID back then. And, for us to start you out there, I and the general landscape back then was that it was unregulated.
Right then highest phase was we never heard or regulations around the world? I think back in 2018. And so it was like a tow bar and people I always had stories of people carrying boxes of cash to to shops just to buy cryptocurrency. And, it was a very.
I would say raw steech off. And yeah, since she transitioned out of that to become a more regulated, to become a more Akia environment or for business peers to, to basically run operations. Yeah.
[00:16:50] Amy: Where are you in Jakarta?
[00:16:54] Pang Xue Kai: Yup. I’ve always been in Jakarta, but on the early days, I’ve I’ve I’ve had to frequently travel around in Jakarta.
I indoor, sorry. So I’ve been to mid-on I’ve been to Marlin. I’ve been to because we all have small offices and. We’ve been to Bali and frequent the spaces and really loved this series. And I really miss the chance to be able to travel again within Indonesia. You guys might know we’re locked down again.
[00:17:25] Amy: Me too. Me too. I also want to joke Jay. And that also seems like it would be an interesting hub for crypto. There’s still a lot of people there. And this is very exciting. Yes. Ah, I miss Indo so much and I miss the food. Okay. Now we’re going on a tangent. Okay. Okay. So you as the CEO, then once you deal, like I always curious about what does a CEO actually deal?
[00:17:55] Pang Xue Kai: Everyone’s going to notice you’re going to sit in my office. And
so as a CEO, I all, as all CEOs are on a wall. Mean of corporations, I guess in companies, I think what our responsibility is ultimately to basically guide the company as per the, our vision, as well as the shareholders efficient. It’s a lot about thinking about what we’re planning to do to get us from where we are at to the right to sure.
So for taco itself, it’s about. Thinking, it’s thinking about how we can grow the business by adding new business channel, how we can add more business products to bring in more revenue in the company. That’s fine. We’ve got to think about, ultimately the company is about growing in size, right?
And then we got to think about our vision as a company or our vision of crypto as a company, which is to. Make it legitimate and mainstream. And in order to do that, it doesn’t just fall from the sky. We have to have programs, we have to have outreach programs and those things needs to be planned.
Like what what kind of initiatives do we want to roll out? And of course we have to think about our strategy with the regulators. So was a lot about strategizing, how should we lobby with the regulators, we’ve got a close connection, close relationships with the regulators so that the regulations don’t get overly to control.
So that it will be it was stifled the growth of the entire industry. So eat. And then of course it’s about thinking about how do we grow the team how do we attract the top talents from, into taco Carto so that we can grow and achieve our vision and our mission. And then it’s a lot.
Yeah. Metrics looking at data and seeing how certain campaigns or certain business lines are performing. And then we’ve got to step in if there needs to be an intervention. When you step in, if there’s there’s a need that we say, we need to basically try something new, it’s not working right now and try something new.
I think that and yeah it’s basically, there’s a lot of fun to get to really outreach with a lot of you get the net wealth by the business owners as well. Yeah.
[00:20:15] Amy: Yeah. Okay. Let’s talk about what goes into creating your strategy then because you make it seem very easy. So what kind of thought processes and what kind of resources do you need to tap into, or in order to create a strategy
[00:20:30] Pang Xue Kai: growth strategies?
So I think first thing first is to understand the state of the. And the data and resources that you would require to understand instead state of the company you need naturally, you need data metrics the weekly active traders on top of crypto. For me, you need to know that I can traders in, what’s the trading volume, say what’s the number of registrations that’s coming in per month.
We need to know where are these people coming from? And yeah, so that’s the first thing. We didn’t even know where we are, right. In order to plan. We didn’t know where. Where the industry is. So industry Y metrics like like what I mentioned, how what’s the total number of users that are within Indonesia.
That’s part of the industry. Wait,
[00:21:16] Amy: can I pause for a second? What metrics are you looking at? Are you looking at only Indonesian metrics?
[00:21:24] Pang Xue Kai: Yeah. For Takako and we need your metrics. Yeah, the part of Iran will fall for global metrics. We’ll look at tequila token, cause we have the TGO token as well as part of the system.
But that’s another story. So far Toko crypto. Yeah. We look at the Indonesian metrics. We look at where the industry is. We look at what the government sentiment is currently leaning more towards too. So it’s more positive than we definitely can, right away that it’s more neutral and you’ve got to have a wait and see approach if it’s a negative sentiment and, we’ve got to take precautionary measures.
So yeah, first we get to know. Where we are at. And then next is to identify what’s the potential of growth, right? Because you to identify the potential before we can, if we, if the 260 million people in indoor, any Emmy and you strategize that you want to get a billion users from indoor, that’s not possible.
So we’ve got to know what’s the potential of growth in endo. What’s the demographics of people. What’s the, the lower line influence that we can identify it so that we can quickly bring them on board and with the crypto industry. From there then we can plan say, okay, it takes it takes X amount of time in order to bring, Y amount of people on to the ecosystem.
And then from there we can strategize. As to how much we’re willing to spend, how much time are we in the span? And we’ve got to do it. It doesn’t mean that the more money we spend equals more users coming in, there’s always going to be a lot of the mission diminishing returns. You can just show a lot of my end and it’s just not going to get infected.
So we get to plan it out. We get to think about how. We should spend each month in order to draw people in. And of course, incentive, we gotta incentivize through educational materials. We’re gonna incentivize true marketing and deans. Yeah. So other than any that balances out into it’s a balance about how much we spend against our metrics.
So we’ve got to plan it out. So we will have we will have a forecast of a span and we will have a forecast of of the metrics that we’re tracking. And then month and month we’ll be able to track and see, how’s the company doing? How’s the market and industry responding to the efforts that we’re doing.
And. You gotta keep doing it every month. You just gotta keep doing it every month. Keep finding out more data points and then just get to keep having this entire thought process over and over
[00:23:52] Amy: again. Yeah. Yeah. So on a day-to-day basis, how do you organize your thoughts? Like actually how via email via spread giant spreadsheet?
Like what are you doing to organize all of those different moving parts in your mind? I
[00:24:10] Pang Xue Kai: think a Google Callender is the greatest invention ever. So all of my, so I’m just looking at my calendar right now. It’s all of my, all of my meetings are all spread out and basically just one look, it’s I can see that.
There is, I have daily calls that actually looks at the daily metrics of taco because when we can week basis, we’re running campaigns. So through these daily calls, we’re able to measure the, basically the metrics that’s coming from each campaign. So yeah, my typical day starts off from looking at the previous day metrics.
And then we view based on the campaign results. Then it would naturally transition into more meetings meetings with regulators or meetings with potential investors. And then there would be. In the views and podcasts and webinars and TV shows that we have to participate in order to push awareness, PR awareness of October, but two as well.
And, I look forward to Fridays the most because the bigger team comes together online, because right now we can’t meet face to face and I have not seen. Like 95% of my guys for the past one and a half years. So yeah, Fridays is when we all congregate. And then we have a weekly call we can catch up.
Oh, of course Google meet. Okay. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I’m really looking for that too. When you know this whole thing when this whole thing sub-sites of it, I bought a barbecue pit and I’m ready to mingle with my wow.
[00:25:57] Amy: Cool. Ooh. Would you fly them all to Jakarta?
[00:26:00] Pang Xue Kai: I would hope there’s an opportunity for that.
It’s nice to catch up and it’s nice to have that face-to-face and direction. It’s just something that Google meet cannot replace.
[00:26:11] Amy: Yep. Yeah. I am definitely missing it as well. And I too have not met. Any of the people that I work with because I joined this company in the pandemic and we’re colorful, we’re remote.
So it’s very interesting to not have that face to face interaction. Yeah. And that’s why I think it it’s interesting. Because Indonesia is so spread out, like across so many different islands and not having one central hub like America does in the sense of the bay area.
Maybe I have no idea. I’m Canadian. Like maybe the bay area is like their big hub of like tech and to have Jakarta be the big hub of tech. And yet it’s like on an island and then there’s like the whole country. All different islands. Like how do you get to each other? I don’t know. I don’t get it.
[00:27:01] Pang Xue Kai: Yeah. I think in Asia, I think it’s the most drug or frequently de-centralized country. I don’t know if that got that 5,000 islands.
[00:27:12] Amy: Yeah. Oh yeah. It’s crazy. So many islands. All right. Kai, thank you so much for joining the podcast. I had a blast. I learned a lot about Indonesia crypto that I didn’t know before.
And I hope I can come and visit you one day. We can eat some nasty girl, right? Talk in my limited Indonesian Bahasa that I know. And yeah. Thank you so much for joining the podcast. If we want to find you and what you’re working on online, where it can.
[00:27:41] Pang Xue Kai: Sure. I think the best place you can look for us is you can check me out on, not checking out.
You can hook up, you can look me up on Twitter. You can go through my name, pong share archive, or you can Twitter Togo cryptos, a Twitter handle or TKO tokens to the handle, and then you’ll be able to connect with us to find out more we’re on telegram as well, but just make sure that you joined a legit group and yeah.
Make sure you joined the legit Twitter handles. I think that’s very important. Fraudsters have Instagram or Twitter that’s going on. So yeah, make sure you’re
[00:28:19] Amy: right. Official link in the show notes of the episode so that everyone can go check it up. And if you like this episode of the hacker noon podcast, don’t forget to like it, share it and subscribe to it and share it with all of your friends.
You can find us online at hacker news. Instagram Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever. And this episode was produced by hacker noon. It was hosted by me, Amy, Tom, and edited by your lovely audio wizard, Alex, stay weird and I’ll see ya on the internet. Bye-bye.
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