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Istanbul Blockchain Week founder Erhan Korhaliller discusses why Turkey is one of the hottest places for crypto

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Istanbul Blockchain Week founder Erhan Korhaliller discusses why Turkey is one of the hottest places for crypto

CryptoSlate had the opportunity to sit down with Erhan Korhaliller, Founder & CEO of EAK Digital, the web3 communications and events agency behind some of the industry’s most creative IRL events, as he puts plans together for the much anticipated Istanbul Blockchain Week.

Why is the Turkish market so hot for crypto?

Turkey has been fighting high inflation and interest rates for some time now, a long time before it started seeping into the international market. The official inflation rate of Turkey currently sits at 78.6% for the month of June; this has led Turkish people to look for alternative assets in which to preserve and expand their wealth.

Turkey also has a very successful mobile gaming market; in a recent report, it was stated that 79% of adults in Turkey play games, so people are used to swapping in and out of tokens and coins, and I suspect Turkey will play a key role in the upcoming surge of web3 gaming that we are going to see in the next few years.

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What sectors of the web3 industry are particularly hot in Turkey right now?

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

Turkey has always been a huge market for mobile gaming, and there continues to be an extremely large gaming community in Turkey that are ripe to be onboarded into web3. We plan to enable that at Istanbul Blockchain Week at our W3E championships, the world’s first Web3 gaming championships.

What inspired you to organise Istanbul Blockchain Week?

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

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There were no major events taking place in Turkey and the events I could find had questionable speakers and characters in the space typically known of shilling and questionable projects. In addition to this, the Turkish economy was struggling whilst adoption in the country was exploding. This inspired me to launch Istanbul Blockchain Week, the premier web3 event in Eurasia,  in which we invite real builders, educators, thought leaders and top business people both in Turkey and internationally to launch an event that Turkey can be truly proud of.

What is the current regulation for crypto in Turkey?

In Turkey, it is illegal to use crypto as a form of payment however it is not illegal to trade cryptocurrencies. Aside from this, they’re hasn’t been clear regulation guidelines set by the government. President Erdoğan said the legislation regarding crypto assets is ready for the parliament, with no clear date as to when this would come into practice. We are hopeful for regulations that allow for 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 Tesla company CEO Elon Musk, announced that TOGG, the domestic car brand of Turkey, will cooperate with the Avalanche blockchain. He also stated that Turkey should be one of the leading countries in the Metaverse universe in January of this year.

What are the key highlight events of the Istanbul blockchain week?

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The week kicks off with a 1 day NFT Day dedicated to all things NFT/Metaverse and gaming, this will be a highly curated lineup of leaders of the NFT space within Turkey and Internationally. We then move into the main event of the week, IstanBlock, which is a two-day event that will feature Turkish government speakers, large multinational companies, and of course, web3 heavyweight thought leaders.

Following the main event, we are extremely excited to be launching the W3E Championships, the world’s first Web3 gaming championship. We have a dedicated 600-seat E-Sports arena in Istanbul for the finals of the championship, which includes some of the top games in web3. Gamers must enter the qualifying tournaments for the championships taking place in August and September before the finalists descend to Istanbul for one final epic showdown.

Who are some of the headline names planning to speak at Istanbul Blockchain Week?

At this year’s Istanbul Blockchain Week, we are focusing on a number of different areas in the industry split across the different events. You can expect a whole host of speakers from leaders in web3 alongside mainstream web2 brands that are breaking into web3. Its been fascinating to watch the likes of Tiffanys and Adidas recently expand into web3 and we want to host events that facilitate such partnerships.

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

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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 large multi-national firms looking for partners to break into web3.

At Istanbul Blockchain Week, we have a range of events that are suitable too many different profiles of attendees. Whether you are an NFT enthusiast, a major business/bank pivoting to web3, or an avid gamer, there is something for you.

 Istanbul is an iconic historic city and the excitement for web3 is palpable, you only have to spend half a day in Istanbul to see how large it is here. Seemingly wherever you look there is a reference to crypto from advertising in the airport, local trams, and buses to physical exchange shops outside the famous Grand Bazaar.

The Turkish people are some of the most devoted and excited about web3 and cryptocurrency and the event is a major opportunity for projects who want to reach a new receptive audience or meet their existing Turkish community.

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TON Network launches Telegram wallet bot for P2P crypto trading

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TON Network launches Telegram wallet bot for P2P crypto trading

TON Network launches Telegram wallet bot for P2P crypto trading Anthony Clarke · 5 hours ago · 2 min read

Independent developers within the TON community built a wallet and peer-to-peer crypto trading bot within the Telegram app.

2 min read

Updated: October 5, 2022 at 1:53 am

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Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

Telegram users can now buy and sell cryptocurrency within the app due to a new update for the @wallet bot. In April, the TON (short for “The Open Network”) cryptocurrency gained its own @wallet bot on Telegram’s open WebApps platform, allowing users to buy, sell, and trade Toncoin (TON) without leaving the chat application.

A team of independent TON developers working has released a full-fledged cryptocurrency wallet inside the chat app. With this new addition, users can conduct cryptocurrency transactions directly with one another, with the service functioning as a third-party guarantor.

Instead of sending crypto to another address, users only need the Telegram handle of the recipient to transfer Toncoin. The @wallet bot functions similarly to a banking app, enabling users to buy Toncoin using their credit or debit cards within Telegram. Users will also be able to buy and sell Toncoin using fiat currencies such as Dollars (USD), Euros (EUR), Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH), Belarusian Rubel BYN, and Kazakhstani Tenge (KZT).

The Open Network (TON) was developed in 2018 by Parel Durov and Nikolai Durov, the founders of the Telegram messaging app. Eventually, the project’s creators turned it over to the TON community, and since then, the group has been responsible for expanding and improving it. Later, a group of non-commercial backers came together to create the TON Foundation, whose role was to supervise the development of the TON Blockchain.

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The TON development community built the @wallet bot to facilitate cryptocurrency transactions inside the confines of Telegram. Since its introduction, there has been a significant increase in the use of the @wallet, with over a million wallets created and a $5 million quarterly revenue run.

The @wallet team spoke on the development of the Telegram trading bot, telling CryptoSlate:

“The launch of the P2P market is another step towards our main goal of creating a full-fledged crypto wallet integrated into Telegram via a bot.”

The developers’ aim was to build a cryptocurrency wallet that is user-friendly and simple to use for everyday people. The @wallet team told CryptoSlate, “We’re creating a product that would be as convenient as possible for those just getting started with cryptocurrencies, so we pay a lot of attention to crafting an intuitive interface.” continuing:

“We believe that by taking this approach, we will be able to build a large audience and that @wallet will become the most popular crypto wallet among Telegram users.”

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Research: Grayscale’s GBTC drops to all-time low of $12.5K; conversion to spot ETF could trigger rebound

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Research: Grayscale’s GBTC drops to all-time low of $12.5K; conversion to spot ETF could trigger rebound

Research: Grayscale’s GBTC drops to all-time low of $12.5K; conversion to spot ETF could trigger rebound Christian Nwobodo · 2 hours ago · 2 min read

Prior to Feb. 2021, GBTC was trading at a premium of up to 20%. As of Sept. 30, the share price has slipped into the discount area with its current price of $12,508 (priced with a -36.2% discount).

2 min read

Updated: October 4, 2022 at 5:37 pm

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Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

Grayscale’s bitcoin trust (GBTC) which started trading at a discount in Feb. 2021 has reached an all-time low of -36% when compared to the spot BTC price of $19,000.

Grayscale launched the first bitcoin trust in 2013, to provide institutional investors exposure to BTC through traditional instruments.

As of date, assets under management in the bitcoin trust are approximately $12.3 billion. Grayscale holds 635,240 BTC representing 3.3% of BTC’s circulating supply, with each BTC per share worth 0.00091748‡.

Prior to Feb. 2021, GBTC was trading at a premium of up to 20%. However, the share price has slipped into the discount area with its current price of $12,508 (priced with a -36.2% discount), as of Sept. 30. 2022.

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GBTC Price (via TradingView)

At the current 36.25% discount, institutional investors’ interest in GBTC remains at an all-time low. Delphi Digital Analyst Andrew Krohn noted that the increasing GBTC discount may suggest a declining interest of institutional investors in bitcoin.

Some suggest that the increasing discount illustrates subsiding institutional interest in Bitcoin, while others point to a wider offering of ETFs or alternative vehicles for BTC investment.

The interest of institutional investors may remain low until $GBTC starts getting closer to the net asset value of $BTC.

Will a spot ETF approval trigger the next bull run?

GBTC shares accrue a 2% fee annually and are subject to a six-month lock-up. If prices fall within the lock-up period, investors can not exit their position to cut the losses.

In recent times, cheaper bitcoin ETF options have been launched across Canada, Europe, and the US.  Management fees for ETFs are relatively cheaper and investors can enter and exit their position at will.

Grayscale moved to have its trust fund converted to ETF, but the SEC rejected the application. The firm has refilled its application for further consideration.

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According to Krohn, the GBTC discount trend may reverse as soon as the fund is converted into an ETF.

“If the SEC approves Grayscale’s request to turn the fund into an ETF, the discount could be erased rather quickly.”

With bitcoin increasingly reclaiming its reputation as digital gold, a spot ETF approval could imitate a similar trend as the first gold ETF.

The launch of the first Gold ETF “Gold Bullion Securities” in 2003, saw the price of Gold soar significantly over the years and now trades above $1709, up by 368%, since the first Gold ETF launch.

Expectedly, a spot bitcoin ETF approval will attract more institutional and retail investors, leading to increased demand and price for BTC, which could usher the crypto market into the next bull run.

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ARK Invest’s crypto strategies to offer top 20 crypto assets to wealth managers

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ARK Invest’s crypto strategies to offer top 20 crypto assets to wealth managers

ARK Invest’s crypto strategies to offer top 20 crypto assets to wealth managers Christian Nwobodo · 2 hours ago · 2 min read

ARK Invest has partnered with Eaglebrook to provide wealthy investors exposure to top 20 crypto assets through separately managed accounts.

2 min read

Updated: October 3, 2022 at 9:30 pm

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Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

Cathie Wood-led ARK Invest has inked a partnership with Eaglebrook Advisors to offer the ARK Cryptocurrency and ARK Cryptoasset strategies available as a separately managed account (SMA) for financial advisors and wealth managers.

Since 2015, ARK Invest has been involved in crypto equity and security investments. Through the ARK Exchange Traded Funds (ETF), the investment adviser has provided investors exposure to crypto assets investments.

Eaglebrook offers separately management accounts (SMAs) for wealth managers and advisors to gain direct exposure to digital assets on behalf of their clients.

ARK CEO Cathie Wood said that the partnership with Eaglebrook will introduce a new asset class to the wealth management industry.

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She added that::

“The strategies will be separately managed accounts (SMAs) designed to meet the needs of financial advisors, wealth managers, and their clients by offering direct ownership, low minimums, and portfolio reporting integration amongst other benefits.”

ARK Crypto Strategies coming to Wealth Managers

ARK Crypto Strategies are designed to leverage blockchain’s promise to bring revolution across money, finance, and the internet.

The ARK Cryptocurrency Strategy is a high conviction portfolio that invests primarily in bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). The strategy seeks to capitalize on the monetary revolution as the two flagship assets are expected to be uncorrelated to other asset classes or traditional systems in the long term.

On the other hand, the ARK Cryptoasset Strategy will invest only in the top 10-20 coins, which ARK has identified as having the potential to drive the financial and internet revolutions. The assets will be selected across smart contract networks, decentralized finance, web3, and infrastructure and scaling solutions.

Despite the global crypto market shedding over $2 trillion since its peak in Nov. 2021, ARK Invest Cryptoasset Analyst Yassine Elmandjra believes the time is right for investors to enter the market leveraging ARK’s Crypto Strategies.

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“We’re thrilled to be offering actively managed crypto strategies to advisors during a time when, we believe, much of the speculative behaviors have died down. We believe this presents an attractive entry point for investors.”

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