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The term “flexing” has started to emerge in recent years along with the trend of posting wealth on social media. Many people criticize this behavior and argue that flexing reflects an arrogant attitude.
In the context of social media, “flexing” refers to openly displaying wealth, a luxurious lifestyle, or achievements to gain attention, recognition, or respect from others. Flexing also often occurs on social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat, where users share photos, videos, or stories about luxury goods, cars, houses, travel, or other achievements to show their success to others.
Flexing can also involve using words or captions that demean others or show off one’s superiority. The popularity of crypto investment in recent times is related to flexing.
Along with the increase in the value of crypto assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other altcoins. Those who have invested in crypto and made huge profits often use social media to show off the results of their investments. Among them, sharing screenshots of their portfolio showing significant profits thus creating the impression of financial success. In addition, some individuals buy crypto and then use the profits obtained from the increase in the value of the asset to buy luxury goods such as cars, jewelry, or property. Afterwards, they then share photos or videos of these items on social media giving the impression that their financial success comes from crypto investments.
So, to understand more about what flexing is, its purpose and causes, negative impacts, risks in the crypto world, the characteristics of illegal investment using the flexing mode, and tips for avoiding flexing on social media, read below!
What is Flexing?
According to Urbandictionary.com, flexing is the act of showing off money-related things, such as how much money you have, or expensive items such as designer clothes. Often done by young people and content creators on social media platforms with an arrogant attitude.
Thorstein Veblen introduced the term flexing in his book The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study in the Evolution of Institutions in 1899. An American economist and sociologist, Veblen argued that there was a direct link between property ownership and a person’s social status. in society. Veblen used the term “conspicuous consumption” to describe how objects or items are displayed to show a person’s status and social position.
Flexing is a way in which people show off their success and wealth to others, usually through social media. By sharing photos, videos, or stories about luxury goods, property, or financial achievements, they try to showcase their achievements and create an impression of success to their audience. Furthermore, flexing is often used to gain recognition, respect, or praise from others, creating an image of oneself as successful and affluent in the eyes of society.
Purpose & Causes of Flexing
What drives someone to flex? Before discussing the causes, let’s first understand the purpose behind the action.
According to Rhenald Kasali, a well-known academic and business practitioner, a person’s goal in flexing is to promote themselves or in other words, to seek attention. Apart from that, flexing can also aim to show one’s existence, strengthen one’s social position in society, and increase self-confidence. This self-exhibiting behavior’s purpose is related to why other people engage in similar actions. Here are some of the causes of flexing, including:
1. Feeling Insecure
Flexing is often associated with people with newly acquired wealth or so-called OKB, as most of them tend to show off their wealth. People think that those who have had wealth for a long time, which is usually called old money, will not engage in the behavior of showing off their wealth. Psychologically, when someone just gets something they have long dreamed of, the tendency to show it off to others becomes higher. The extent to which this behavior is carried out, whether necessary or excessive, depends on the individual’s character.
2. Seeking Attention
Those who flex often know that this behavior can irritate other people, but they ignore the reaction because they aim to seek attention. The more people respond to this self-flaunting behavior, the more satisfied and happy they are.
3. Seeking Validation
In contrast to those who feel insecure and have to show off their wealth to avoid feeling belittled, there are also those who flex because they are looking for validation. They want to see other people’s reactions to what they have. For them, validation from others of their possessions is very important, and they are not satisfied if they don’t get it.
4. Social Pressure
Flexing behavior occurs more often in big cities, where the environment tends to be competitive and filled with big accomplishments. Therefore, this behavior may be considered normal in that environment. However, this becomes a highlight when flexing behavior continues to be carried out outside the environment that encourages this behavior.
5. Lack of empathy
Sometimes, some people flaunt their wealth for no apparent reason, except to show off. They don’t realize that this kind of behavior can create social inequality around them. They do not have the empathy to understand the feelings of others who feel uncomfortable with their self-flaunting behavior.
Getting to Know the Negative Impact of Flexing
Although flexing used for marketing purposes can be profitable, when flexing is done with the intention of showing off wealth, the impact can be unfavorable. The following are some of the negative impacts of flexing actions aimed at showing off wealth, including:
1. Forcing the situation
Flexing which is done to show off wealth can encourage behavior to force circumstances. People who are used to showing off luxury goods tend to want to continue to show their existence. This is risky when they are no longer able to maintain that lifestyle. In the long term, this can lead to coercion and pressure to maintain that image, even if financial conditions are not favorable.
2. Difficulty Building Social Relationships-Friends
Although many believe that wealth can attract attention, the reality is that people who show off their wealth too often through flexing can actually have difficulty building genuine social relationships. Studies show that most people prefer to be friends with individuals who live simpler lives than those who overdo their luxury.
3. Personality Disorders
Excessive flexing can disrupt a person’s personality. According to research by a psychologist from Knox College who wrote the book The High Price of Materialism, individuals who frequently flex tend to be less empathetic, care less about other people, and are more competitive. Additionally, they may not support sustainable environmental principles and may espouse detrimental and discriminatory views.
Flexing Risks in the Crypto World
Please note, that the world is filled with success stories, especially in the rapidly growing crypto asset industry. Social media provides a platform for influencers and entrepreneurs to share their success stories with a global audience. However, several recent tragic events remind us that showing off our wealth from crypto assets can bring disaster. Quoting from BeInCrypto sources, here are several examples of cases related to flexing risks in the crypto world that you need to know, namely:
1. Fernando Perez Algaba
One egregious incident involved Fernando Perez Algaba, an Argentinian billionaire known for renting out luxury vehicles, selling cryptocurrencies, and showing off his lavish lifestyle to nearly a million followers on Instagram. Algaba was found in a very tragic condition namely his mutilated body was found in a suitcase near a river in Buenos Aires. In a statement provided by Algaba’s brother, he said, “I have [been] here for three days and have barely slept, brooding, thinking hard about how this could happen. But I will not remain silent, I will not enforce justice with my own hands. However, I hope justice will be served.”
2. Peter Vuong and Angel Bowyer
However, that was not the only case that occurred. In Sydney, Australia, Peter Vuong experiences a terrifying nightmare when he is kidnapped from the bed he shares with his girlfriend, an influencer named Angel Bowyer. The kidnappers then demanded a ransom of US$5 million from the Bowyer family, a crypto trader named Tran Dinh. “They set a ransom of US$5 million… If you can’t fulfill our demands, we will hurt your child little by little until you give us what we want. Do you want to see him hurt? Prepare US$ 5 million. You have 24 hours to provide this ransom money. “We are waiting, time is running out,” read the message which allegedly came from the kidnappers.
Beware, Signs of Illegal Investment with Flexing Mode!
This investment fraud with a rich person-style flexing content model certainly raises fears for many people who plan to invest, whether in the stock market, crypto, or Bitcoin. However, keep in mind that not all online investment platforms or applications are scams. The following are several signs of fraudulent investment applications that need to be recognized in order to avoid investment fraud schemes, namely:
1. The Lure of Big Profits
Fake investment application endorsers often offer unreasonable promises of profits in a very short time, for example in just 1-3 months. However, sound investments typically take longer to produce significant returns, and realistic returns come with appropriate risks. Legitimate investment platforms will not offer unrealistic promises of quick profits. Instead, they guide investors on how to maximize returns by selecting instruments and capital that suit the chosen investment time horizon.
2. The App Does Not Have Official Permission
Before being tempted to invest through an application promoted by a favorite YouTuber or celebrity, it is important to check whether the application has obtained permission from the Commodity Futures Trading Supervisory Agency (BAPPEBTI) and the Financial Services Authority (OJK). An application that is supervised and has permits from BAPPEBTI and OJK indicates that the platform undergoes an investment process in accordance with applicable rules and regulations, and therefore, has a low risk of fraud.
3. Seducing the Audience to Follow the Investment
One of the characteristics of illegal investments using the flexing mode is seducing the audience through displays of wealth and promises of large profits by participating in certain investments. They use luxurious lifestyles and excessive promotions to attract others to participate in investments that are not actually legal or legal.
Tips to Avoid Flexing on Social Media
Knowing tips to avoid flexing on social media has many benefits, especially in maintaining one’s mental health, finances, and social relationships. So, to avoid the flexing trap, here are some tips that can be applied, namely:
1. Filter Content/Social Media Filter
It’s okay to share your achievements on social media, but it’s important to consider the long-term impact of these posts. Keep your uploads simple and meaningful, according to your achievements.
2. Share Achievements with Meaning
When you share an accomplishment on social media, always include the reasons why it is so valuable in your life. That way, maybe you can inspire other people through your uploads, not just showing off your achievements.
3. Don’t Rely on Social Media
Understand that everyone has different financial conditions. Therefore, you don’t need to follow consumer trends just to look luxurious and flashy on social media. Learn your own needs and learn to love yourself for who you are.
4. Be proud of yourself
Understand that you don’t need validation from others to feel happy. Be proud of your achievements and positive values ??without having to depend on other people’s views. You are great in your own way.
In conclusion, the popularity of crypto investment in recent times has something to do with flexing. As the value of crypto assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other altcoins rises, people who have invested in crypto and made huge profits often use social media to show off the results of their investments. They can share screenshots of their portfolio showing significant profits, creating an impression of financial success. Therefore, it is important for anyone to understand that flexing can bring unwanted risks, including in the crypto world. In this regard, it is wise to always be careful in sharing financial information openly and avoid displaying wealth in an excessive manner.