Note from First Stage Labs: This public article is the result of an internal report conducted between May 2023 and June 2023.
How We Collected the Data
This report provides insights from market research conducted in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brazil. The findings are derived from in-depth interviews with crypto investors and traders. We will cover the following topics in this report:
- Crypto market overview
- Crypto trading and investing behavior
- Awareness of Telegram and TON
It is important to note that the insights presented in this report reflect the perceptions of a specific group of crypto investors and traders from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brazil. Results may differ for other target audiences with different criteria or perspectives.
Crypto Market Overview
This overview offers a concise summary of the current state of the cryptocurrency market in three specific countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brazil, providing valuable insights into the factors that could potentially impact the performance of the crypto market in these regions.
Cryptocurrency has garnered significant attention among the younger generation as they eagerly delve into its ever-evolving landscape. In Malaysia, a growing number of crypto traders and investors are flocking to this digital realm for a multitude of reasons. Some view it as a lucrative profit-making tool, while others consider it a more secure means of utilizing and storing their finances. Curiosity also drives many individuals to explore the world of crypto trading.
In Malaysia, a growing number of individuals view cryptocurrencies as a promising investment opportunity with significant growth potential. They see digital assets as a pathway to potentially profitable returns.
Malaysians hold a positive outlook on the future growth of cryptocurrencies, perceiving them as a profitable investment tool. With their enthusiasm for digital innovation and a prudent approach to volatility, Malaysians are positioning themselves to embrace the opportunities offered by these digital assets.
The legal and regulated status of cryptocurrency in Malaysia is overseen by the Securities Commission (SC) under the Capital Markets and Services Order 2019. While recognized as a security and subject to the country’s securities laws, cryptocurrencies and tokens are not classified as legal tender or payment instruments by Bank Negara Malaysia, the nation’s central bank.
Currently, Malaysia does not have a tax framework for crypto businesses, and there is no capital gains tax enforced for the sale of investments or capital assets. However, companies with digital assets as their primary business activity may be liable for income tax, and crypto exchanges are subject to corporate income tax.
Section 10 of the Currency Act 2020 stipulates that ‘only currency note and currency coin issued by the Bank shall be legal tender in Malaysia at its face value provided that the currency note is not defaced and the currency coin is not tampered with’.
Moreover, Malaysia has no intention of recognizing cryptocurrencies as legal tender, Deputy Finance Minister I Mohd Shahar Abdullah said in parliament (March 24, 2022).
Although many believe that crypto and blockchain hold immense potential, some Malaysian traders and investors do not possess any NFTs. Whether due to a lack of understanding or missing out on the NFT trend, these individuals have yet to explore the possibilities NFTs present.
Attitudes towards cryptocurrencies vary among individuals in Indonesia. As one crypto trader mentioned, “There is nothing in between — either you have no idea of what crypto is, or you are crazy about it.”
Like Malaysia, a growing number of younger people in Indonesia are displaying a keen interest in cryptocurrencies, viewing them as promising technology with novel opportunities. While younger generations embrace the potential and technological advancements offered by cryptocurrencies, concerns about market volatility and trustworthiness linger among their families.
Crypto traders and investors in Indonesia expressed concerns about the widespread corruption in the country, fostering a pessimistic outlook not only toward cryptocurrency taxation but also toward other forms of taxation.
Indonesia imposed a blanket ban on crypto payments starting in 2017, while trading in digital assets has largely remained legal in the country. In 2020 Indonesia issued a list of crypto assets (229 in total) that can be traded in Indonesia.
At the same time, Indonesia was one of 2022’s fastest-growing crypto markets, driven primarily by speculative trading. Last year, the country’s trade ministry recorded around 14 million crypto traders against 9 million stock traders.
Indonesia currently bans the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment but allows transactions of digital assets in the commodity futures market for investment purposes.
To support the exclusivity of the Rupiah as the only payment instrument, the Central Bank of Indonesia prohibits any payment providers from processing payment transactions using crypto. Payment providers violating this matter will be subject to administrative sanctions.
The current status of cryptocurrency as a commodity in Indonesia has limited the adoption of cryptocurrency by merchants. However, a limited selection of businesses are accepting crypto payments, among them:
- ESO Trans Digital: ESO Trans Digital is a platform that uses blockchain and NFC technology to facilitate payments and transactions. Users can pay for goods and services with crypto via QR Codes and other payment options.
- Nobi: Nobi is a blockchain savings platform that offers users interest on their cryptocurrencies. Users can deposit, save, and stake cryptocurrencies for rewards on its mobile applications.
- BCS technology: BCS technology is a blockchain consulting company that builds projects. The company accepts crypto payments for its services.
Despite the strong belief in the potential of crypto and blockchain technologies, Indonesian investors and traders exhibit caution when it comes to NFTs. The shared reasons behind the avoidance of NFTs among Indonesian and Malaysian crypto investors and traders reflect a common theme of lacking awareness or missed opportunities.
In recent years, the Brazilian crypto landscape has witnessed a notable shift in the perceptions and preferences of traders and investors. Many individuals view cryptocurrencies as long-term investments, poised to be utilized in a future where crypto is widely accepted, both within Brazil and worldwide. Apart from seeing the investment potential of cryptocurrencies, Brazilian traders and investors are driven by underlying trust issues with politicians and the state.
Skepticism and misunderstandings surrounding crypto persist among the older generation, who often perceive it as a form of money laundering and associate it with pyramid schemes. Some traders limit their involvement in conversations with their friends and families regarding cryptocurrency until the topic arises spontaneously, while others engage in active discussions about crypto, encouraging interest in this field.
Brazilian crypto traders and investors exhibit a predominantly positive attitude towards taxes, driven by the perception that current laws are not overly stringent. With hopes of legalization, they anticipate an improvement in the overall quality of the Brazilian crypto market.
Since cryptocurrencies represent valuable property rights, their taxation follows the generally applicable rules for movable goods.
Holders of virtual assets must declare them in their income tax statements and are subject to capital gains tax arising from their sales. The exchange of cryptocurrencies, without their conversion at any time into legal tender (fiat currencies), is also subject to capital gains tax, so individuals who solely hold cryptocurrency in a wallet do not need to pay taxes.
Another interesting fact is that Brazil will launch a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in 2024.
In 2020, the Brazilian Central Bank launched PIX, an instant payment infrastructure that operates 24/7 and has seen tremendous adoption rates. Currently, PIX has more than 122 million active users, which accounts for 57% of the Brazilian population, and 40% of users made their first electronic transfer.
Crypto Trading and Investing Behavior
Indonesia and Malaysia
Regarding trading and investing in the crypto market, notable differences in attitudes and behaviors emerge between Malaysians and Indonesians. Malaysians exhibit a greater sense of caution, actively managing risks during bearish trends. On the other hand, Indonesians display a resilient approach, continuing to trade and buy cryptocurrencies regardless of market conditions.
These two neighboring countries with shared cultural ties, showcase notable disparities in their approaches to cryptocurrencies. While they may have numerous similarities, their perspectives on crypto diverge. In Indonesia, the National Religious Council deems crypto as haram. In contrast, crypto is considered halal in Malaysia, but with specific conditions, like being traded on registered exchanges, set by The Shariah Advisory Council of Securities Commission Malaysia.
For Brazilian traders as well as Indonesian ones, bear markets serve as windows of opportunity. They perceive the current market conditions as favorable for strategic investments, enabling them to acquire assets at lower prices. This strategy is driven by the understanding that a bear market can offer attractive entry points, potentially yielding significant gains when the market inevitably rebounds.
Telegram and TON Awareness
Participants expressed a positive overall impression of Toncoin, emphasizing the project’s transparency as a key factor that garnered their attention. They appreciate the availability of comprehensive information, such as the project’s ranking, volume, and market capitalization, contributing to trust and security. Additionally, participants emphasize the importance of monitoring the coin’s performance and availability on various exchanges, suggesting a focus on practical aspects and market dynamics.
Telegram has cemented its position as an indispensable messaging app for crypto enthusiasts in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brazil. Serving as a nexus for crypto traders and investors, it offers a range of features that foster seamless communication, privacy, and professional connectivity within the crypto community. While participants primarily rely on Telegram for receiving crypto-related news and updates, they recognize its complementary role alongside other messaging apps in maintaining social connections beyond the crypto realm.
Our research team will continue to conduct market research in various countries, offering valuable insights into the current market state, potential customer behavior and preferences, and competitive landscape.
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