Jeth Soetoyo shares his experience of founding and developing Pintu, how crypto is expanding, the future of bitcoin, and what he has learned from growing a business in Indonesia.
Jeth Soetoyo, Founder and CEO of Indonesia’s leading blockchain technology company called Pintu – the Indonesian word for “door” – believes that blockchains will revolutionize finance on a global scale. He shares that his first experience came when he went to school in the U.S. “At the time, I sent my tuition using a blockchain network instead of the existing banking system and found that it was magnitudes faster and cheaper to do so. That initial experience sparked my interest in how blockchains can revolutionize finance by breaking down barriers of participating in global financial networks,” he recalls. “My view is that blockchain will have as big of an impact on finance as the Internet did on information sharing and data.”
Blockchain, at its core, is more than a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of tracking assets and recording transactions in a business network. Blockchain plays a crucial role in setting the stage for nearly all cryptocurrencies and their crypto universes. This arguably goes double for cryptocurrency wallets and trading platforms. And this is where Jeth Soetoyo comes in. With his team at Pintu, who are incredibly passionate about using blockchain to drive positive change in Indonesia, Jeth has helped more than a million users start investing in cryptocurrency.
“The majority of our users are millennials and Gen-Z, specifically between the ages of 18-35. We also see a growing number of more mature segments between the ages of 36-50 using Pintu as they found the app to be very easy to use,” Jeth shares some insight into Pintu’s demographic. Below are excerpts from Prestige Indonesia’s interview with Pintu’s founder and CEO.
First of all, can you introduce us to your platform, Pintu?
Pintu is Indonesia’s first mobile-native cryptocurrency wallet and trading platform. The application launched back in April 2020 and we’ve grown massively in the past couple of
years with over a million monthly active users. The application itself focuses on helping first-time crypto investors to discover, learn, and invest in crypto easily. Pintu offers a hassle-free crypto investment that is simple, safe, and also registered and licensed by BAPPEBTI [the Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency]. Moreover, the assets are securely stored in world-class custody and our users can start investing in cryptocurrency starting from just Rp11.000.
How would you describe the level of awareness and interest for services like Pintu among Indonesians?
Indonesia is still in a very early stage of crypto adoption, only about two percent of the population own crypto, which is a few years behind more mature markets like the U.S. which sees over 20 percent of the population owning crypto. Crypto exchange businesses in Indonesia started in 2015, but they were only focused on “pro traders” which is only about one percent of the retail investors. The remaining 99 percent who are more casual traders or investors were left out.
What are your plans for increasing user adoption on the platform?
We heavily focus on two things. Firstly, education. The crypto market in Indonesia is still at a very early stage, and therefore, educating the market about the fundamentals of crypto investment is critical to growing its adoption in a healthy way. For this, Pintu has a feature called “Pintu Academy” on the app to guide users through some of the fundamentals about blockchain technology and crypto-assets. Secondly, the user experience. We will continue improving the app to make investing in crypto as easy as using e-Wallets or using eCommerce platforms that users are familiar with today.
What do you see as the biggest challenges to cryptocurrencies in general? How is Pintu countering these risks?
The biggest challenge is the public perception of crypto in Indonesia. Many people still think that crypto investment is a scam despite the fact that crypto investment has been legally regulated. After that, financial literacy in the market is also another challenge, especially knowledge on how to invest responsibly. These challenges exist because crypto is still a new concept in Indonesia. It will take a lot of education to build the users’ trust and literacy. At Pintu, we try to tackle these challenges through several initiatives, including the “Pintu Academy” where users can learn about the fundamentals of crypto assets, community outreach to educate users on how to start, and collaborations with partners to provide educational content.
“I really like Indonesia’s stance on crypto. I think the regulations in Indonesia are pretty much ahead compared to other countries in Asia”
Community engagement is an important part of any platform. How do you engage and interact with Pintu’s community?
Pintu has one of the largest crypto enthusiast communities in Indonesia on Telegram and Discord. We also have a variety of activities our community channels from knowledge sharing about crypto assets, to exciting blockchain projects such as NFT and play-to-earn games, AMA [Ask Me Anything] sessions with guest speakers from various blockchain projects, crypto traders, and even celebrities who are enthusiastic about crypto, as well as quizzes and competitions with rewards in crypto.
What are the long-term plans for Pintu? What lies ahead on Pintu’s roadmap?
We’re always looking to push the boundaries to offer better user experiences for our users. In the near future, we will be rolling out new features on the Pintu App to continuously improve its user experience. And then new products, such as more selections of crypto assets and staking offers, as well as collaborations with partners from various industries such as NFT, DeFi, and many more.
On a more personal note, what are your thoughts on crypto regulations in Indonesia?
I really like Indonesia’s stance on crypto. I think the regulations in Indonesia are pretty much ahead compared to other countries in Asia. The regulations that have been put in place by the Ministry of Trade support customer protection and allow for innovation in the space.
As a founder and a techpreneur, what advice would you give to novices and young Indonesians looking to start their careers in the crypto and blockchain community?
The best way to start is to directly get involved in a crypto-related project so that you can understand very quickly how to build crypto applications, and understand the challenges and problems in the space.
On the other hand, what advice would you give to somebody looking to start investing in cryptocurrency right now?
Learn about the fundamentals behind the crypto assets before you invest. You can easily learn about this on the “Pintu Academy” section on the Pintu app. Diversify your assets and risk to only what you can afford to lose. Avoid getting pressured by others to invest through Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), and explore some investment techniques like Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA), which you can also easily learn about on the Pintu App.
Let’s take Bitcoin as an example. In your opinion, what is the future of Bitcoin? Where is it heading to?
I think Bitcoin will always be the gold standard of crypto because of its wide adoption, most decentralized, most well-known crypto assets. Generally, on the crypto market, I believe the adoption of crypto is moving from a niche market to a more mainstream one. In addition, user experience issues are getting solved so that more people can use crypto, which ultimately leads to more use cases for crypto other than just as an investment asset. By that I mean as financial products, gaming, art, and many more.
In your opinion, could cryptocurrency become the new safe haven for individuals looking to preserve and increase their wealth?
If you look at the last two quarters, crypto is being traded more like high-growth tech stocks rather than a safe haven asset. However, going forward, I personally think there will be a decoupling between the performance of high growth tech stocks and crypto as people start realising that more and more crypto assets can be a safe haven, especially the ones that are deflationary in nature such as bitcoin.
Last but not least, what’s something in the blockchain or crypto universe most people can’t really envision today will take for granted five years from now?
In the early 2000s, the Internet impacted how people interact with information. Today, we are starting to see how blockchain technologies impact the way people interact with finance and anything of value such as digital art and ownership of online assets. I believe blockchains will have a much larger impact than the internet did on our everyday lives and the crypto companies of tomorrow will be much larger than the Web2 companies of today. For instance, DeFi or decentralized finance has become one of the most interesting developments over the past year where, for example, you can lend or borrow funds on a global scale. On the other hand, there’s NFT. Earlier this year when NFT experienced a boom in Indonesia and became viral because of the Ghozali Everyday project, I think owning and trading NFT will be mainstream in the future. Last but not least, the Metaverse. This is the concept of socialising in a virtual world attracted many people in Indonesia, and could soon be a new lifestyle