As we Turks always proudly say that Turkey is the bridge between Europe and Asia, when it comes to technology, Turks are global leaders in adopting and consuming the latest tech. In other words, the great test environment to become the “bridge” between the old and the new. Smartphone penetration and blockchain is one of the greatest examples of that earlier statement.
According to Statista and many other resources, Turkey is the global leader in cryptocurrency penetration. As a marketing expert working with startups closely for more than 3 years, I can honestly say that we have a great upcoming generation, who will choose to work 18 hours a day for their own startup against getting into corporate life. We have great startups, we have great co-working spaces, we have lots of investors. We have a great startup ecosystem in Istanbul. According to that, the global leader in cryptocurrency penetration should produce loads of blockchain startups. Right?
We love money, we love digital money and we love “easy money”. Most Turks see cryptocurrencies as a way to quickly gain profits by investing in “the most secure” crypto-assets such as BTC and ETH, and most of the time they are shocked when they see the volatility. I’m following the biggest blockchain-related social media groups in Turkey and there is nothing about the blockchain technology most of the time, but only cryptocurrencies and investment strategies.
But what about “the real blockchain”?
We have great talent in software development in Turkey. But when you meet those developers, most of them dream of leaving the country whenever they get the chance to work abroad. While I was looking for blockchain startups to invite to our Starfleet Malta program, I came across a Berlin-based blockchain startup, that has 2 Turkish developers. I would personally love to see our great developers work for our great startups.
And another thing is they are afraid of blockchain development. I had the chance to attend student events in my former company and asked promising developers about blockchain and they think that developing something on the blockchain is “rocket science”, until they take the first step.
In 2018, I organized a meetup for one of the top 20 (according to market cap) blockchain companies in Istanbul. Being a selective dude as always, I only tried to target “blockchain guys” and not “investment” guys, because the event was about the blockchain technology and development. There were around 25 people at the event and they left the meetup pretty happy. There were blockchain startups, developers, enthusiasts and students who plan to take their leap of faith into the blockchain.
My first action at AE Ventures was organizing a meetup in Istanbul, to promote our 3rd batch of Starfleet within Turkish startup & blockchain ecosystem. Also, it was my chance to show our team the interest in blockchain in Istanbul. After 2 weeks of intense and selective promotion, we had more than 70 attendees in our first AE Ventures meetup in Istanbul, which was more than double the amount from last year’s event! The best thing is, attendees were top of the notch for the blockchain scene in Turkey. I will mention most of the organizations and companies of our attendees below.
Thanks to our meetup in Istanbul, and our promotion targeting Turkey (and region), we had great applications for Starfleet from Turkey. But unfortunately, due to a great number of applications we received from all around the world, we had to reject even some great startups. So, as a start, here are the Turkish blockchain startups that applied to the 3rd batch of Starfleet.
Feel free to suggest additions to the startups or organizations below;
Turkish Blockchain Startups (that applied to Starfleet)
In the startup scene, there are some “sexy keywords” that some entrepreneurs only use to become cooler, and blockchain is one of them. But Noderix had two sexy keywords, combining IoT and blockchain. They were the only Turkish startup to be accepted into Genesis Week of Starfleet.
“Noderix is a system consisting of some type of special computers (gateways) where hundreds of different IoT applications can be loaded, hosted and run on it. An IoT application could be anything from tracking a shared bike to a vehicle, from monitoring the crop field to remote reading of energy meters. It is a new disruptive innovation for the world that exists today with more than 20+ billion IoT devices and 500+ billion dollar IoT industry.”
For users, bounties are always one of the most attractive things about cryptocurrencies. I remember a screenshot from years ago, that gives away 1 BTC for every click on the website. TrueFeedBackChain helps you get valuable feedback from your target audience with ease.
“TrueFeedBack is a survey/bounty platform where companies, institutions, academicians or other interested parties can create surveys or bounties. Users can participate in these surveys and bounties, get incentives for participating and stay anonymous all the time.”
PHSIGITAL was a startup at the idea stage that applied to Starfleet. The founder, Fatih, was a brilliant student who was planning of creating a startup to replace physical receipts with digital ones using blockchain. His focus was on sustainability and digitalization.
“XFB is a platform where social network users can easily gather their friends together with social networking to realize and manage their business ideas and social responsibility and donation projects.”
Turkish Blockchain Startups
“MenaPay revolutionary approach replaces cash and traditional banking tools used for online and offline transactions in daily life. MenaPay is interest-free and independent from banks, end users can top-up their digital wallet even though they do not have any bank account or credit card. Thanks to the blockchain technology, transactions are witnessed by audit companies.”
“Colendi is a decentralized credit scoring and microcredit protocol. It uses its patented machine-learning algorithms to generate a Colendi Score that will serve as a financial passport for its users. These users will then have access to microcredits, installment shopping, and p2p financing. Colendi is specially designed to serve the unbanked/underbanked, but is perfectly capable of benefiting people who participate in the formal financial institution.”
“Global Miles is a Blockchain platform enabling the miles distributed across the world for frequent flyers and airlines which can be used and managed by a mobile application.”
“Kimlic Blockchain gives you the ability to prove your identity to any business. No more repeating KYC processes. Thanks to passwordless authentication technology your identity data and documents are securely transferred”
Proofstack (formerly known as Copyrobo)
“Proofstack helps you to obtain effective/legal evidences through qualified Authorities (Germany, Estonia, Hungary, Turkey) and Blockchain Protocols (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, EOS, NEO, Stellar). Proofstack is the world’s first and only startup that uses both Qualified Authorities and Blockchain Protocols (BTC, ETH, LTC, EOS, NEO, XLM) in a single platform to create global and local legal proofs via Android, iOS and Web applications.”
“The Bundle Network is an online platform connected to multiple cryptocurrency exchanges. Through one single account, users can purchase and sell multiple coins & tokens within seconds, at the best price possible. Bundle Network will also serve as an online meeting place for cryptocurrency traders and enthusiasts to share and discuss topics related to digital asset trading.”
“We are aware of how important the Blockchain technology is now and will be in the future. Our goal is to raise this awareness in all sectors and to reorient future technology with blockchain. As Blok-Z, we offer blockchain-based solutions for energy markets. With our first product “Ener-Z”, we aim to bring all producers, suppliers, and consumers in a blockchain-based market.”
“Paratica is fully automated auto trading system for cryptocurrencies. It runs on cloud. Once you set up your bot, Paratica runs for you even you asleep.”
Turkish Organizations & Hubs in Blockchain Scene
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) is a national agency of Turkey whose stated goal is to develop “science, technology and innovation” policies, support and conduct research and development, and to “play a leading role in the creation of a science and technology culture” in the country.
TÜBİTAK BİLGEM (Informatics and Information Security Center) has a Blockchain Research Laboratory which is working full time on developing blockchain use cases to improve processes within Turkey.
They established a great online hub called BAĞ (Blockchain Research Network) to provide necessary tools for Turkish blockchain enthusiasts.
Turkish Informatics Foundation (TBV)
TBV is working for development of Turkey in general, but also they are interested in blockchain. They are running the Blockchain Turkey Platform BCTR (https://bctr.org/en/).
Istanbul Blockchain Women,/h4>
Istanbul Blockchain Women is a great group consisting of blockchain enthusiasts and they organize great events for people who want to get into the technology. They also attended our Istanbul Meetup.
They gathered together as powerful women managers within the blockchain ecosystem in Turkey. Istanbul Blockchain Women want to break male dominance in not only blockchain but also in business.
Blockfellow is a community trying to teach enthusiasts about blockchain. All the courses are free through the program. Fellows are selected by reference and they need to pass the test before becoming a fellow.
Unichain’s aim is to educate the students who are following up, learning, teaching and developing the technology and bringing the Turkish community to the foreground. They organize events in universities all-around Turkey.
The first of its kind, Inkube aims to accelerate the development of Turkey’s blockchain ecosystem by offering projects a place to incubate their startups, organizing hackathons for real use cases as well as introducing co-working spaces.
KOOPHub, towards its diverse community-building services, will serve as an enabler in fintech (including blockchain) to meet with requests of parties at all-types and scopes.
Exchanges Operating In Turkey
Currently a few worldwide exchanges are hiring people in Turkey, and they would love to enter Turkish market officially, by opening trades with Turkish Lira. I can count Huobi, Binance, Bibox and some others among them. But here are Turkish exchanges that you can buy cryptos in Turkey.
- BTCTurk: https://www.btcturk.com/
- Paribu: https://www.paribu.com/
- Coiny: https://coiny.io/
- Koinim: https://koinim.com/
- BitTurk: https://bitturk.com/
- Koineks: https://koineks.com/
- Nakitcoins: https://nakitcoins.com/
Some Interesting Facts about Turkish Blockchain Ecosystem
Emin Gün Sirer is a Turkish-American computer scientist. He is currently an associate professor of computer science at Cornell University, co-director of IC3. He is known for his contributions to Bitcoin-NG whitepaper in 2016, which was applied in æternity.
One of the biggest exchanges in Turkey became the main sponsor for Turkish Super League team Yeni Malatyaspor. The team is now called BtcTurk Yeni Malatyaspor” and their kit has the logo of the exchange.