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Turkish Banking Titans Move into Crypto Space, Anticipating Upcoming Legislation

Fredrik Vold
Last updated: | 1 min read
Turkish lira and Bitcoin
Source: iStock / Muratani

As Turkey prepares for new legislation in the crypto sector, major banking institutions in the country are making moves to secure their positions in the digital asset space.

Despite uncertainties about the potential strictness of the impending laws, institutional adoption of crypto is on the rise in Turkey, with two of the country’s largest banking groups just this week making announcements regarding their crypto-related endeavors.

On Monday, Akbank’s investment arm revealed the acquisition of local crypto firm Stablex, signaling its intent to become a key player in the digital asset arena, according to a report from CoinDesk Turkey.

Following suit, Garanti BBVA, another of Turkey’s major banks, launched its own digital wallet as a mobile app, the same report said.

Garanti BBVA’s app also features a cold wallet function, enabling users to transact with both Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and various stablecoins.

Turkey ranks highly in crypto adoption


Perhaps surprisingly and despite the government’s efforts to slow crypto adoption, Turkey has consistently ranked among the top 20 countries in Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index for 2023.

And while adoption is already high, the number of crypto investors in Turkey is continuing to climb as the country struggles with inflation in its fiat currency, the lira.

According to a survey conducted by major crypto exchange KuCoin earlier this year, over half of the Turkish population now participate in some form in the crypto market.

In 2021, Turkey’s central bank prohibited the use of crypto for payments, but officials have so far avoided introducing a total ban on all use of digital assets.

According to the Turkish central bank’s “Regulation on the Disuse of Cryptoassets in Payments,” crypto is “neither subject to any regulation and supervision mechanisms nor a central regulatory authority.”