Turkey’s Banking Giants Go Big on Crypto as Legislation Looms

This week, two of the country’s largest banks announced crypto initiatives.

AccessTimeIconDec 13, 2023 at 3:28 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 26, 2024 at 4:05 p.m. UTC
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(CoinDesk Turkey) – Turkey’s government is gearing up to introduce new legislation for the crypto sector. It’s still unclear how restrictive the new laws might be, but it hasn’t spooked adoption even at the institutional level. This week, two of Turkey’s largest banking groups announced crypto initiatives.

On Monday, the investment arm of Akbank announced it had acquired local crypto firm Stablex, with a top official at Ak Investment saying the group wanted to be a key player in the digital asset space.

Garanti BBVA, another leading bank, launched its crypto wallet app the following day. The application has a cold wallet feature and allows users to send and receive assets like bitcoin (BTC), USD Coin (USDC) and ether (ETH).

Turkey ranks among the top 20 countries in Chainalysis' Global Crypto Adoption Index 2023. The country also hosted Ethereum conference Devconnect this year.

However, the government has not been a fan of unchecked adoption. In 2021, the country’s central bank prohibited the use of crypto for payments, although officials ruled out a total ban on digital assets.

In November, a government official said crypto legislation will soon come to Parliament. There’s little detail about the framework, but it’s part of the country’s strategy to leave global watchdog Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “gray list,” intended for countries that need to address shortcomings in their anti-money laundering and terrorist financing measures.

Edited by Sandali Handagama.

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