In Turkey, the “gold rush” of cryptocurrencies

“The price of bitcoin fell last night”, Guven worries, barely awake, at the sight of the downward curve of the graph on his phone screen. “Having said that, I am come home», He relativizes in a common expression among cryptocurrency users, to remember that he has not lost his stake. Entrepreneur at heart, the 30-something did not hesitate for a second when his friend Serdar suggested that he launch their own cryptocurrency, in 2016. Since then, he has made his computer his office, and his phone the direction of their business.

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An activity that mobilizes them full time, but makes their eyes shine as soon as they talk about it. Taking a walk along the bay of Mersin, a large Mediterranean city in southern Turkey where they have just dropped off, Serdar looks back on the beginnings of the BitTaxi adventure: “One day, I found myself without means of payment in a taxi. I saw that the driver was using cryptocurrency. I also had a bitcoin account at the time, so I offered to pay the ride like that. That’s where the idea came from. “

“Everyone is equal to the other”

A computer developer by training, he immersed himself in the countless sources available on the Internet to create his currency and ensure its reliability through blockchain technology, intended to guarantee the security of transactions. Two million BitTaxi coins are already in circulation, but it is the future shift to a taxi payment application and its integration into the real economy that interests Serdar above all. Today, the company employs around twenty people, some of whom are based in India, Indonesia or China. They were recruited online, simply on the basis of their motivation for the project.

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Because the functioning of cryptocurrencies ensures a relative anonymity which makes it possible to reshuffle the cards of the social game: class, ethnic and national origins no longer really make sense. A philosophical dimension of the digital world that Serdar really likes: “In the world of cryptocurrency, everyone is equal to the other”, he insists. At a time when the Turkish lira depreciates against the dollar and when inflation increasingly reduces the purchasing power of the most modest households, investment in cryptocurrencies is attracting more and more Turks.

According to research published in the spring of 2021 by Paribu, Turkey’s largest stock exchange, the population would count 7.7% of cryptocurrency investors, or between 6 million and 7 million people, with bitcoin in the lead. Usage has increased eleven-fold in the space of a year, and represents a daily trading volume of $ 610 million (€ 537 million) on average for the Paribu Exchange alone.

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In Turkey, the “gold rush” of cryptocurrencies

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