Billionaire investor Tim Draper sees opportunities in Indonesia, especially with bitcoin and blockchain technology, as entrepreneurs take advantage of a lack of modern banking infrastructure to build their own.
Despite its young tech-savvy citizens raised on smartphones and apps, Indonesia has the second-highest dependency on cash in the world after India, according to the World Bank. The managing partner of Draper Associates expects users to jump to cryptocurrency.
“They don’t have very good banking services. So they have an opportunity to use bitcoin and make that as their currency,” he said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Haidi Lun and Rishaad Salamat from Jakarta. “Suddenly, we’ve got this major opportunity that’s not going to be around for those countries that already have strong infrastructure.”
Draper is one of the most high-profile U.S. venture capitalists to begin turning their attention from China to Indonesia, the biggest country in Southeast Asia. Earlier this week he said he wasn’t going to make new investments in China because it was difficult to get money out amid capital controls.
“I can’t justify investing any more money in a country where they’re not letting money out,” he said Thursday. “It’s like putting money into a black hole.”
Draper was visiting Indonesia’s capital city for the first time Thursday to meet with ride-hailing service Go-Jek as well as startups backed by, a Southeast Asian-focused venture capital firm.
“This is a great place to be. There is going to be a lot going on here.”
Draper gained fame for investments in startups that went on to become household names, such as Baidu Inc.,and Skype.