Turkiye will roll out new crypto rules that are likely to focus on exchange licensing and taxation. The new rules are expected in 2024 as the government reins in an industry that has boomed amid alarming inflation in recent years.
According to sector officials, Turkiye’s crypto rules could include minimum capital and cybersecurity requirements for exchanges, as well as rules about asset custody and proof-of-reserves. A September report by KuCoin, one of the world’s largest exchanges,revealed that crypto adoption increased by 31% in Q2.
Turks Adopt Crypto for Investment
Since October, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek promised new legislation to remove Turkiye from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “gray list.” FATF had earlier accused Turkiye of not being able to regulate and identify virtual asset service providers.
By introducing a new licensing regime, Turkiye would be able to tick off the last item on the FATF’s measures to combat money laundering deficiencies. Regulations have undergone consultations for two years and should be ready for parliament soon.
The uptake of cryptocurrencies in the last year was in part from people interested in fighting the devaluation of the Turkish lira. KuCoin reported that the currency depreciated over 50% against the US dollar. Turkish citizens appear to favor long-term strategies, investing more than 100,000 Lira in Q2.
Turkish Crypto Rules Validated by Crime
Regrettably, Turkiye’s exchanges have validated some of the FATF’s concerns. Authorities recently took to task at least two firms for enabling criminal activity.
On Sep. 10, they arrested Faruk Fatih Ozer, the founder of Turkish exchange Thodex. Prosecutors found Ozer guilty of money laundering, aggravated fraud, and running a criminal organization.
Binance, which recently hosted its Blockchain Week in Turkiye’s capital, Istanbul, was fined $750,000 for poor money laundering controls in 2021. The Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) audit revealed that Binance violated Law No. 5549 on Prevention of Laundering Proceeds of Crime.
Law 5549 details the duties of financial institutions, reporting entities, and supervisory bodies to combat money laundering. The Ministry of Finance and Treasury oversees MASAK, with assistance from the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) and the Capital Markets Board (SPK).