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Istanbul Blockchain Week Founder Erhan Korhaliller Explains Why Turkey is One of the Hottest Places for Crypto

CryptoSlate had the opportunity to speak with Erhan Korhaliller, Founder and CEO of EAK Digital, the web3 communications and events agency behind some of the most creative IRL events in the industry, so that he is making plans for the highly anticipated Istanbul Blockchain Week.

Why is the Turkish market so hot for crypto?

Turkey has been struggling with high inflation and high interest rates for some time now, long before it started to seep into the international market. Turkey’s official inflation rate currently stands at 78.6% for the month of June; this led the Turks to seek alternative assets to preserve and grow their wealth.

Turkey also has a very thriving mobile gaming market; in a recent report, it was stated that 79% of adults in Turkey play games, so people are used to exchanging tokens and coins, and I suspect that Turkey will play a key role in the next wave of Web3 games that we are going to see in the next few years.

Which sectors of the web3 industry are particularly hot in Turkey at the moment?

Turkey has a huge amount of retail traders; this has led many major exchanges to establish a Turkish presence, including Binance, Huobi, and FTX, and more. During my discussions with exchanges, I was regularly told that Turkey is in the top 2/3 markets for trading on their platforms. In addition to international exchanges, there are large national exchanges currently showing huge volumes, such as BTC Turk and Paribu.

Turkey has always been a huge market for mobile games, and there is still a very large gaming community in Turkey that is ready to be integrated into Web3. We plan to enable this during Istanbul Blockchain Week during our W3E Championships, the world’s first Web3 gaming championships.

What inspired you to organize Istanbul Blockchain Week?

Besides my Turkish heritage, as the founder of EAK Digital, a web3 creative communications agency since 2017, we have partnered with many events as a PR partner and worked with top clients such as Binance, XX Network, Theta Network, Neo, etc., over time. as our agency grew, our network grew with it. In 2019, I decided to explore the Turkish web3 events landscape and was very disappointed with what I found.

There were no major events in Turkey and the events I could find had dodgy speakers and characters in the generally known space of shilling and dodgy projects. On top of that, the Turkish economy was struggling as adoption in the country exploded. This inspired me to launch Istanbul Blockchain Week, the first web3 event in Eurasia, in which we invite real builders, educators, thought leaders and high-level business people in Turkey and abroad to launch a event of which Turkey can be truly proud.

What are the current regulations for crypto in Turkey?

In Turkey, it is illegal to use crypto as a form of payment, but it is not illegal to trade cryptocurrencies. Other than that, there have been no clear regulatory guidelines set by the government. President Erdoğan has said the legislation regarding crypto assets is ready for parliament, with no specific date as to when it will come into practice. We hope that the regulations will allow the space for innovation and growth to continue in the crypto asset space in Turkey.

What might surprise some people is that President Erdogan, after meeting with the CEO of the Tesla company, Elon Musk, announced that TOGG, the Turkish car brand, will cooperate with the Avalanche blockchain. He also said that Turkey is expected to be one of the leading countries in the Metaverse universe in January this year.

What are the main highlights of Istanbul Blockchain Week?

The week kicks off with a one-day NFT day dedicated to all things NFT/Metaverse and gaming, it will be a highly curated list of leaders in the NFT space in Turkey and internationally. We then move on to the main event of the week, IstanBlock, which is a two-day event that will feature speakers from the Turkish government, major multinational corporations and, of course, Web3 heavyweight thought leaders.

After the main event, we are extremely excited to launch the W3E Championships, the world’s first Web3 gaming championship. We have a dedicated 600-seat esports arena in Istanbul for the championship finals, which features some of the best web3 games. Players are due to compete in the Championship Qualifiers taking place in August and September before the finalists descend on Istanbul for an epic final showdown.

Who are the big names planning to speak at Istanbul Blockchain Week?

At this year’s Istanbul Blockchain Week, we are focusing on a number of different areas of the industry spread across the different events. You can expect a slew of speakers from web3 leaders alongside mainstream web2 brands that are getting into web3. It has been fascinating to see Tiffanys and Adidas expand into Web3 recently and we want to host events that facilitate such partnerships.

Moreover, at IstanBlock, the flagship event of Istanbul Blockchain Week, attendees can expect web3 personalities and legendary figures like David Chaum, legendary cryptographer and pioneer alongside top funds and institutions in capital risk. We will also have a strong NFT/Gaming/Metaverse presence at NFT Day and the Web3Esports Championships with expected speakers who have worked on some of the biggest AAA+ games to join the conversation.

Why should people attend Istanbul Blockchain Week?

Istanbul Blockchain Week represents the best opportunity for the international community to enter the rampant Turkish crypto community and build relationships with traders, influencers, thought leaders, government and major corporations multinationals looking for partners to penetrate the web3.

At Istanbul Blockchain Week, we offer a range of events that suit many different profiles of attendees. Whether you’re an NFT enthusiast, a large corporation/bank moving to web3, or an avid gamer, there’s something for you.

Istanbul is an iconic historical city and the web3 craze is palpable, you only need to spend half a day in Istanbul to see how big it is here. Apparently, wherever you look there is a reference to crypto from airport advertising, from local trams and buses to physical exchange shops outside the famous Grand Bazaar.

Turks are some of the most dedicated and enthusiastic about web3 and cryptocurrency and the event is a major opportunity for projects looking to reach a new receptive audience or meet their existing Turkish community.

Connect with Erhan Korhaliller

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