Not long ago Turkey, declared Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies against Islam, has now decided to instantiate country’s first university-level blockchain center. This particular news centering blockchain and cryptocurrency arose last year however, since then multiple developments have taken place. The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanat), a state organization responsible for the religious matters deemed the technology “not appropriate for Muslims” to use because it was open to speculation. The organization said
Buying and selling virtual currencies is not compatible with religion at this time because of the fact that their valuation is open to speculation, they can be easily used in illegal activities like money laundering and they are not under the state’s audit and surveillance.
The organization warned off people by saying that it is a volatile currency and is being used by criminals for despicable purposes, such as fraud and money laundering. It was suggested that no investment be made in the said technology.
However, since then Turkey’s stance on cryptocurrency and blockchain has changed completely. Prior to the recent advancements in the field of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the Turkish government had a harsh stance overall. They did not want the masses to invest in the technology even though exchanges were being functional all over the country. Due to these trepidations, the MHP deputy chair and former industry minister, Mr. Tarinkulu, persuaded the government to make rules and regulations the trade of cryptocurrencies. Many issues were brought to attention including but not limited to the fact that the popularity of cryptocurrencies is growing with each passing day. According to Mr. Tarinkulu;
The world is advancing toward a new digital system. Turkey should create its own digital system and currency before it’s too late.
Therefore rather than discouraging it, they should try to incorporate it and provide necessary laws to regulate the trade. He went on to saying that incorporating these regulations would not only ensure that Turkey embraces the technological revolution but also how the illegal activities would be eluded in their presence.He’s
The need for regulation is obvious. The use of those currencies in illegal activities must be prevented.
This year on Feb 22, it was reported that Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy chair and former Industry Minister Ahmet Kenan Tarinkulu, was considering launching a national Bitcoin, “Turkcoin” in the same 22-page report. This was preceded by BTCTurk, which was a Bitcoin exchange and was shut down due to inability to attain a banking partner. The company released a statement, where they pinpointed the reason and said;
It appears that it is impossible for us to find a bank who agree to work with BTCTurk.
The latest development is Turkey’s initiative to establish country’s first university blockchain center. It is called the Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center (Blockchain IST Center) and it was inaugurated recently at Bahçeşehir University. This center has been established in hopes of keeping up with the developing world of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Evidently, blockchain has numerous advantages and the Turks plan to keep up with the changing trends. The security and the tamper proof ledger that is provided by blockchain has set a precedence for Turkey.
Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center Director Bora Erdamar told how this center is constituted with both students as well as experts, to conduct academic research in new technological areas and make progress. He also mentioned how a very talented group of individuals have come together to educate themselves and the rest of the world. Erdamar said,
The purpose of the Blockchain IST project is to be the most important center of research and development and innovation in Turkey in which scientific studies and publications are made in blockchain technologies. To this end, it is crucial to cooperate with other universities, the business world and government institutions.
The Director also put emphasis on the fact that they are the first one to launch a prestigious center, meant for the exploration of blockchain technology and further said,
The Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center, established in Bahçeşehir University, is the first research and innovation center in our country to have been established within a university.
Furthermore, Erdamar also pointed to the fact, how Turkey is striving to gain a place among the digitized nations. This effort is just one of many to come to guarantee a future where Turkey can been seen as a developed and technologically revolutionized country. He concluded by saying,
Therefore, we are trying to lead this business with such a center. We will strive to train Turkey’s human resources in blockchain and enable the country to lead the world in this area.
Briefly, in the beginning, Turkey might have had a harsh stance on blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the latest events have verified that the Turks are more resolute than ever to actively participate in the development of blockchain technology. Not only to keep up with the current technological revolution but also to be the originator of them.