Indonesia: around 70,000 islands and 270 million people… a new, maybe not easy, but certainly amazing frontier for FinTech. Yet, so far, Indonesia hasn’t been providing a business framework as enabling as its neighbors have, notably Singapore.
Despite Blockchain Zoo having historically seen light in Indonesia, where they’re based, a large majority of their consultancies and implementations are in Singapore.
In a nutshell: the current status quo of the Indonesian Fintech industry could simply be summed up with one word: “fragmentation”. Fragmentation in geography, in data, in billing systems, payment systems, etc… which is both the cause and result of processes involving multiple parties with competing interests. Whenever this is the case, trust is a key factor for complex processes. It’s a niche, where Fintech can come in and provide tangible improvements.
Fragmentation of Data
This topic has attracted the attention of many SMEs, which are working on solving the problem of fragmented data. Transportation data in Jakarta is a telling use case: paying at a bus station requires a BCA Flazz card, but the electronic payment system for toll roads is operated by Mandiri bank. Fortunately, these banks are cooperating, and it is possible to pay a toll fee with a BCA card. Yet this data segmentation makes it hard to evaluate, manage, and use data for the purpose of making city infrastructure improvements. In Singapore this system is unified, and travelling around the city is a dramatically different experience.
Fragmentation of Funds
One of the most visible hurdles to faster economic development in Indonesia is the huge gap between investors and investees, especially when funds are needed in rural areas which are separated from centralised funds – not only coming from abroad, but even from Jakarta. It remains ‘traditional’ to undergo a long period of discovery and networking before gaining access to technology and funding. This trend is slowly reversing with, for instance, the appearance of micro lending platform to help villages scale up their agricultural output and get more incentives for selling their goods. The decentralisation of funds, though, remains a challenge to be tackled. Solving this problem could further close the gap between investors, distant locales, and Fintech actors, and deliver even more opportunities for growth and market reach.
The Role of Blockchain
Within this status-quo, blockchain is emerging as an enabler for positive change (as opposed to disruption), by becoming an agent of data and fund unification, bringing to the table unparallelled tracking and auditing capabilities within multi-partite systems. Blockchain guarantees data sources, helps enforce governance and best practices, and, most importantly, brings trust into ecosystems where centralisation usually creates fragmentation.
Blockchain Zoo is very lucky to be part of the development of Blockchain in Indonesia. Post offices are already spearheading the technology, with Digiro.in, developed by one of their partners, linking-up several offices for payment purposes. Thanks to this system, 33 provinces in remote areas, some of them without even a bank, will benefit from their own payment facilities.
Blockchain Zoo is also a co-founding entity of the Indonesian Blockchain association, which has a major impact on the transition to Blockchain via knowledge sharing, education, and the creation of Fintech solutions with value for the country. If in Singapore, getting a buy-in for a Fintech project is a straightforward matter, the approach in Indonesia requires the creation of consortiums, and facilitation with several organisations such as the Financial Services Authority, Ministry of Economics, Ministry of Communication and Informatics, or the Central Bank of Indonesia. Thanks to the collective efforts of the association and many actors in the ecosystem, there is great hope for this process to be eventually streamlined into a framework pushing the innovation efforts of the country even further.
This article was created in collaboration with Blockchain Zoo.