Shuhaib Shariff  · 10 min read

Turkey: Comprehensive Guide to Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

Turkey stands out as one of the most dynamic markets for digital currencies and blockchain innovation within the region. With a young, tech-savvy population and a notable expatriate community, Turkey’s engagement with these technologies is impressive. Recent surveys show that around 20% of the Turkish population has interacted with cryptocurrencies, reflecting a growing trust and interest in digital assets amid fluctuating economic conditions.

Although less understood by the general populace, blockchain technology is seeing increasing applications across various sectors in Turkey, from banking to real estate, promising significant enhancements in transparency and efficiency. The government’s cautious yet progressive regulatory stance has cultivated an environment ripe for innovation and growth.

Historical Context and Evolution in Turkey

The engagement of Turkey with cryptocurrency and blockchain started in the early 2010s amid global financial uncertainties and a burgeoning interest in alternative investment opportunities. The timeline of digital currencies in Turkey is marked by rapidly growing user bases and an evolving regulatory framework, aimed at balancing economic innovation with consumer protection.

  • 2013-2015: Early adoption primarily by tech enthusiasts and speculative investors. Bitcoin and other digital currencies began to gain traction, although they remained largely under the regulatory radar.
  • 2016-2018: Increased global awareness of cryptocurrency saw a surge in crypto exchanges and trading activities in Turkey. This period also witnessed the launch of Turkey’s first blockchain startups, aiming to leverage technology beyond mere currency applications.
  • 2019: Official recognition by the Turkish government of the potential of blockchain technology, initiating consultations to integrate blockchain solutions into public services and governance.
  • 2021: Implementation of the first regulatory frameworks aimed at preventing fraud, ensuring security of transactions, and protecting investors. This included guidelines for cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs).
  • 2023: A pivotal year with the Turkish Central Bank announcing a pilot project for a digital Turkish Lira, reflecting the state’s growing endorsement of blockchain’s potential.

Current Landscape of Cryptocurrency in Turkey

Turkey’s cryptocurrency market is a leader in digital finance within Europe, marked by significant adoption and activity. As of 2024, over 2.4 million people actively use or trade digital currencies, representing about 20% of Turkey’s internet users—a rate that surpasses many European counterparts. Cryptocurrencies are particularly popular among younger Turks, with over 35% of Turkish millennials having invested in or used cryptocurrencies, attracted by the potential for high returns and as an alternative to traditional banking systems amidst ongoing economic fluctuations.

The Turkish crypto market has experienced robust growth in trading volumes, with data from major exchanges showing a monthly trading volume exceeding $1 billion as of early 2024. The rise of mobile trading apps has been instrumental in this growth, catering to a tech-savvy population that prefers on-the-go transactions.

sBlockchain Technology Applications

Blockchain technology in Turkey extends beyond cryptocurrencies, with several sectors leveraging its potential to enhance transparency and efficiency:

  • Banking and Finance: Major Turkish banks are integrating blockchain to facilitate faster and more secure transactions. For example, one of Turkey’s largest banks has successfully implemented blockchain for international money transfers, reducing transaction times from days to mere seconds.
  • Supply Chain Management: In agriculture, blockchain initiatives have increased, with a pilot project launched in 2023 tracking organic food products from farm to table. This project has involved over 200 farms across Turkey and has helped reduce fraud and improve consumer trust by providing transparent product histories.
  • Public Sector: The Turkish government has been proactive in utilizing blockchain for public service enhancements. Notably, a blockchain-based system for property deeds was introduced in 2022, which has already processed over 500,000 transactions, reducing processing times and increasing security against fraud.

Regulatory Environment

Turkey’s approach to regulating the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors is both progressive and cautious, aiming to foster innovation while ensuring market stability. The regulatory framework has been strengthened significantly over the past few years:

  • Crypto Exchange Regulation: As of 2024, all cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Turkey are required to be registered with the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK). This move has brought greater security to the market, with mandatory compliance to anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) standards.
  • ICO and Token Sales: Turkey introduced a comprehensive framework for ICOs in 2022, requiring all token issuances to be pre-approved by the Capital Markets Board, providing detailed prospectuses and audited financial statements.
  • Taxation Policies: In 2023, the Turkish Ministry of Treasury and Finance clarified cryptocurrency taxation, stating that crypto gains are subject to a flat tax rate of 15%, aligning with capital gains tax for other investment vehicles. Furthermore, all transactions exceeding a threshold of 10,000 Turkish Lira must be reported to the authorities.

Economic Impact

The economic impact of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in Turkey is profound, reshaping various

sectors and contributing significantly to the national economy. As of 2024, the cryptocurrency sector is estimated to contribute approximately $1 billion to Turkey’s GDP, with over 500 startups and companies directly involved in blockchain and digital currencies. The fintech sector, buoyed by blockchain innovation, has attracted over $300 million in investment in the past year alone, signaling strong confidence from both domestic and international investors.

The job market has also seen a positive impact, with the blockchain sector creating an estimated 10,000 new jobs across Turkey. These range from technical positions such as blockchain developers and data security analysts to more indirect roles in legal, marketing, and administrative domains within cryptocurrency firms.

Top Crypto & Blockchain Startups in Turkey

  • Bitlo: A leading cryptocurrency exchange platform specializing in trading multiple digital currencies. Founded by Can Gürses, Bitlo is renowned for its high-security measures and user-friendly features. The platform has attracted significant investments, positioning it for further expansion.
  • Colendi: Operates a blockchain-based platform for decentralized credit scoring and microcredit. Co-founded by Bulent Tekmen, Colendi uses blockchain to revolutionize credit accessibility and has secured considerable funding from international investors.
  • Icrypex: Known for its extensive cryptocurrency trading options, Icrypex provides a robust platform supporting both crypto and fiat transactions. Founded by Gökalp İçer, the company emphasizes security and customer service, attracting a broad user base.
  • Lykke: Offers a global blockchain-powered marketplace facilitating the trading of crypto assets and fiat currencies. Founded by Richard Olsen, the platform bridges traditional financial markets and digital currency innovations.
  • Paribu: One of Turkey’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, offering high liquidity and a diverse range of trading pairs. Yasin Oral, the founder, has led the company to significant growth, attracting major investor interest.
  • Prisync: Initially a competitor price tracking software, Prisync has integrated blockchain technology to enhance data integrity and security in e-commerce. CEO Burc Tanir is exploring innovative blockchain applications within the retail and e-commerce sectors.
  • Koineks: Another prominent Turkish cryptocurrency exchange, Koineks offers a variety of digital assets and focuses on providing secure and accessible transaction services. Founded by Faruk Fatih Özer, the exchange is dedicated to enhancing user experience.
  • PaybyMe: Includes a cryptocurrency payment gateway to ease digital currency transactions for online merchants. Under CEO Alper Akcan, PaybyMe integrates traditional and digital payment systems smoothly.
  • BtcTurk: Established as one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges in Turkey, BtcTurk supports multiple cryptocurrencies and focuses on providing a secure and user-friendly trading experience. Founder Kerem Tibuk has been instrumental in fostering crypto adoption in Turkey.
  • Digilira: Specializes in converting crypto to fiat, aiming to bridge the gap between digital currencies and the real economy. Founder Serkan Bayar has pioneered solutions for legal and secure transactions between cryptocurrencies and the Turkish Lira.
  • Blockwell: Provides smart contract solutions and blockchain infrastructure, catering to various industries looking to adopt blockchain technology. CEO Ahmet Usta focuses on making blockchain accessible and beneficial for businesses of all sizes.
  • Fintables: Focused on decentralized finance solutions, Fintables offers analytics and financial tools for the DeFi ecosystem. CEO Zeynep Gurguc is committed to enhancing financial inclusivity with user-friendly DeFi platforms.
  • Coiny: Known for its user-centric design and educational resources, Coiny helps traders understand and navigate the crypto market safely. Led by CEO Ahmet Pehlivan, Coiny prioritizes safety and education in crypto trading.

Challenges and Barriers

Despite promising growth, the cryptocurrency and blockchain landscape in Turkey faces several challenges and barriers. One primary concern is the fluctuating regulatory environment, which, while improving, still causes uncertainty among investors and businesses. For example, sudden changes in tax regulations or compliance requirements can impact startup viability and investor sentiment.

Cybersecurity remains a critical issue, with several high-profile security breaches reported in the past year affecting local crypto exchanges. These incidents have led to losses estimated in the tens of millions of dollars and have heightened scrutiny of the sector’s security practices.

Another significant challenge is the general public’s understanding and trust in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Misinformation and a lack of awareness about the benefits and risks associated with these technologies hinder wider adoption.

The future of cryptocurrency and blockchain in Turkey is ripe with opportunities, driven by technological advancements and increasing governmental support. Looking ahead, the integration of blockchain into Turkey’s digital government initiatives is expected to increase, particularly in areas like voting systems, health records, and identity management, enhancing transparency and efficiency.

There is also growing interest in the potential for Turkey to become a hub for cryptocurrency mining due to its relatively lower energy costs and strategic location. This could attract further international investments and expertise to the region.

Additionally, the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens

(NFTs) presents new avenues for growth. Turkish artists and creators are increasingly exploring NFTs, while DeFi projects are gaining traction, offering alternatives to traditional banking that can operate across borders with reduced fees and without intermediaries.

Case Studies and Success Stories

The practical application of blockchain in Turkey showcases its transformative potential across various sectors. Here are two prominent case studies:

  1. BIST Blockchain Project: The Borsa Istanbul Stock Exchange (BIST) implemented blockchain technology to improve the security and efficiency of transactions and customer data management. Launched in late 2022, this project has reduced transaction times by 90% and significantly decreased operational costs, setting a benchmark in the financial sector.
  2. AgriChain Pilot: In the agricultural sector, the AgriChain initiative, started in early 2023, uses blockchain to track the supply chain of organic products. It has involved over 300 farms and has succeeded in enhancing traceability and reducing fraud, increasing consumer trust dramatically. The project reports a 30% improvement in supply chain efficiency and has boosted sales by tapping into the growing market for verified organic produce.

These successes not only illustrate blockchain’s versatility but also underscore its potential to revolutionize traditional practices and promote transparency and trust.

Resources and Communities

Turkey’s vibrant blockchain and cryptocurrency communities are pivotal in fostering innovation and education within the sector. Key resources and communities include:

  1. Istanbul Blockchain Week: An annual event that attracts global blockchain experts, startups, and investors to discuss advancements and collaborate on new projects. It has become a cornerstone event for networking and knowledge sharing within the regional blockchain community.
  2. Blockchain Turkey Platform (BCTR): Established by the Turkish Informatics Foundation, BCTR serves as a central hub for blockchain professionals, offering workshops, seminars, and resources to enhance professional skills and promote blockchain solutions.
  3. Crypto Academy: An educational initiative offering courses and workshops focused on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Since its inception in 2021, Crypto Academy has educated over 10,000 participants, fostering a well-informed community of enthusiasts and professionals.


The landscape of cryptocurrency and blockchain in Turkey is rich with opportunities despite facing certain challenges. The dynamic growth of this sector reflects a robust appetite for digital transformation and innovation. Looking forward, the potential for further adoption and integration of blockchain technologies in Turkey remains high. Governmental support and regulatory clarity will continue to be pivotal in shaping the sector’s trajectory.

With ongoing investments in technology and a strong community of developers and entrepreneurs, Turkey is well-positioned to remain a leader in the blockchain space in the region. As the world increasingly embraces these technologies, Turkey’s proactive approach in fostering a conducive environment for blockchain and cryptocurrency will likely yield significant economic and societal benefits.

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