BTCTurk becomes the first Turkish lira-to-bitcoin exchange

NEWS
Emily Spaven
Jul 31, 2013 at 17:52 UTC  |  Updated  Aug 1, 2013 at 22:58 UTC

We've recently reported the rise of bitcoin in Iran, Afghanistan and Israel, but now another country has jumped on the digital currency bandwagon – Turkey.

BTCTurk launched earlier this month, becoming the first company to enable the exchange of Turkish lira for bitcoin and vice versa.

Emre Kenci, CTO of BTCTurk, said he and his colleagues started to develop the company in January 2013 having watched interest in bitcoin increase across the globe. He told CoinDesk that BTCTurk has received a "good number" of sign-ups since it launched.

"Despite the fact that there is not a single merchant that accepts bitcoin in Turkey, a lot of people are interested in it. The launch of BTCTurk has made bitcoin very convenient for both users and potential merchants in Turkey and we expect the popularity to grow fast."

Kenci said there are currently no laws in Turkey that specifically regulate bitcoin, but BTCTurk operates to the same know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering policies that are compulsory for banks in the country.

In other countries, the faltering local economy has been distinguished as one of the main reasons people are turning to bitcoin, but Kenci said this is not the case in Turkey. This country's economy is currently on its way up, with a 3% increase in GDP witnessed in the first three months of the year, which is the 14th consecutive quarter of expansion.

"Bitcoin is too small to affect the Turkish economy in the short-term. Perhaps in the very long-term, bitcoin might help the Turkish economy by reducing currency weakness and high inflation," he added.

Fırat Demirel, a writer at Webrazzi.com, which closely follows bitcoin developments, agreed that bitcoin is currently too small to make any major changes in Turkey, but more people are becoming interested in the digital currency each day.

"Webrazzi may be the single media channel in Turkey that talks regularly about bitcoin, but BTCTurk's launch was published on a few websites/newspapers. We are going to organise our annual conference - Webrazzi Summit 2013 - in September and, it's not certain yet, but bitcoin should be one of our topics," he said.

Demirel praised BTCTurk for providing people in Turkey with a way to purchase bitcoin with zero hassle and encouraged more people in the country to get behind the digital currency.

Image credit: Flickr

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