Global Crypto Industry Pledges Aid to Turkey Following Deadly Earthquakes

More than 40 blockchain entities in the country have signed a petition requesting authorities to set up official crypto wallets to accept donations in Turkey, similar to Ukraine.

AccessTimeIconFeb 6, 2023 at 3:59 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 8, 2023 at 5:08 p.m. UTC

Local and foreign crypto exchanges have pledged aid to Turkey after two powerful earthquakes and multiple aftershocks claimed thousands of lives on Monday.

The earthquakes have so far claimed at least 2,100 lives in Turkey and Syria, with organizations and countries around the world offering support as rescue efforts are underway. The international crypto community has shown an eagerness to send donations via digital assets, with multiple platforms pledging support.

Crypto exchanges including Binance, and Bitfinex have said they are looking for ways to send support or have started prepping aid packages. Crypto exchange Bitget has already pledged 1 million Turkish Lira (around $53,000) to humanitarian aid, while Huobi Global has promised 2 million lira.

Crypto communities worldwide are generally quick to respond to humanitarian crises, with millions of dollars in donations pouring into Ukraine following the Russian invasion last year, and COVID-19 relief to India while it struggled with a deadly outbreak in 2021.

But crypto donations can be trickier than traditional payments or bank transfers when local authorities are less welcoming of digital assets that are in a regulatory gray area in jurisdictions across the world. Blockchain industry and research bodies in Turkey have put together a petition demanding authorities enable crypto-based donations to be accepted in Turkey.

The more than 40 entities that have signed the petition at publication time are requesting Turkish authorities to create "official crypto asset wallets and share them through official channels" – in the same way that Ukraine did shortly after the war started in February 2022 – to avoid "malicious aid schemes."

One Twitter user warned of untrustworthy fundraising efforts already popping up on messaging platforms like Telegram in Turkey.

It's unclear if the aid efforts extend to Syria, a war-torn nation subject to heavy economic sanctions from major economies including the U.S. and European Union.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.