A U S T R I A – B A S E D cryptocurrency trading platform Bitpanda is preparing to offer precious metal trading to its Turkish customers in 2021. After entering the Turkish market in September 2020, Bitpanda’s platform now lists over 50 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Pantos, IOTA, Litecoin, Komodo, Dash, Cardano, Tether and Dogecoin. While cryptocurrency’s popularity in Turkey played a key role in the company’s decision to enter the Turkish market, the move was also driven by the versatility of different investments tools, according to Elbruz Yilmaz, Managing Director of Bitpanda Turkey and the MENA region.

AIMING TO OFFER A SAFE INVESTMENT ENVIRONMENT

The company operates with the European Union’s Directive on Payment Services (P2D2) license, which was established for non-banking companies who want to operate in the payment systems sector. Bitpanda aims to provide a safe investment environment, both technically and legally, to its investors in Turkey with the P2D2 license. It allows users to trade cryptocurrencies by palcing deposits on the Bitpanda platform through money or electriconic funds transfers or the online payment platform Papara. In addition to TRY, the users can also use euros, Swiss francs, pounds or dollars to buy cryptocurrencies.

The company continued to expand in 2020. After entering the Turkish market, Bitpanda became active in Italy in December. The company has also established a Technology and Innovation Hub worth EUR 10m in Krakow, Poland. A total of 300 people will be employed in the center, which will focus on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), the Internet of Things (IoT) and compatibility ith blockchain. The company preserves customer assets in offline wallets that are compatible with the European Union Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AML5) to avoid cyberattacks.

Turkey has drawn attention globally because of its surging market volume in the cryptocurrency industry, Yilmaz said, underlining the financial literacy level and the high competition in the fintech ecosystem. The large youth population, mobile internet usage rates and interest in financial tools in the country all support the rapid development of the sector in Turkey. “We aim to offer our platform to users in Turkey and reach a significant market share,” Yilmaz said. “We are working relentlessly to offer all digital assets on our platforms for Turkish users.”

Central Bank eyes digital lira

As the cryptocurrency sector evolves, countries including Turkey have begun to take a serious look at the technology. Turkey will begin Central Bank digital currency (CBDC) trials as of the second half of this year, according to Naci Agbal, the Central Bank Governor. It will also conduct a study to examine digital currency technology, Agbal added. The Bank’s efforts to develop a CBDC was expected due to the rising cryptocurrency sector in Turkey. Turkey is ranked 14th in the world based on cryptocurrency investors, an Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) report found. The report showed that there were over 2.4m cryptocurrency users in Turkey as of 2020 with Bitcoin, Ripple, Digibyte, Bitcoin Cash and Stellar being the preferred coins.

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