Build on Blockchain, Stay Away From Crypto Gambling, Turkey’s Erdoğan Says

Blockchain has merits as a technology but “gambling” with crypto should be avoided, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday.

Appearing before students at Istanbul University during the Blockchain Istanbul Programme organized by his Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdoğan said he wants to see Turkey be a producer, not a consumer, in the digital assets world, according to a report by Alp Börü for CoinDesk Turkey.

Despite Turkey being a fast-growing crypto market, the Erdoğan administration is not known to be friendly towards the industry. In 2021, the government banned the use of crypto for payments. Later in the year, Erdoğan made headlines over his plans to urgently send a restrictive crypto bill to the country’s parliament, but not much has since been heard of the legislation. The crypto market remains largely unregulated in the country.

His remarks seem to indicate an openness to at least some aspects of cryptocurrencies. He said Friday that Turkey seeks to establish its own virtual world, or metaverse. And earlier this year, the president attended a forum organized by AKP in the metaverse.

“I advise our young people to take part in the change of innovations such as blockchain technology and turn to larger and more fertile channels instead of turning to crypto money gambling that has no basis,” Erdoğan said.

Blockchain-based decentralized ledgers for immutable record-keeping has the “potential to radically change existing supply chains,” he said, also noting the impact blockchain technology could have on protecting intellectual property.

On the regulatory front, the president said that the country’s central bank is carrying out studies on cryptocurrencies.

“Our other ministries also follow this technology closely in their own areas of responsibility," he said. "We also closely monitor the activities of our private sector in blockchain technology."

Read more: Turkish Authorities Seize Crypto Worth $40M in Illegal Gambling Sting