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You'll need a Bitcoin wallet before you buy since some exchanges require one.
Don't have a wallet? Read our guide on the best Bitcoin & cryptocurrency wallets.
Coinmama allows customers in almost every country to buy bitcoin. They charge a 4.9%-5.9% (depends on volume) fee on each purchase.
Customers in Europe can also purchase bitcoins with SEPA transfer for a lower fee.
Want to buy using Coinmama? This step-by-step guide will show you how to use Coinmama.
Paybis is a popular & cryptocurrency exchange. They serve 180 countries and 48 US states and are registered with FinCEN, making them a more trusted, regulated exchange. Paybis offers incredibly high limits and super fast payouts, not to mention 5 minute ID verification and nearly perfect review scores on Trustpilot.
CEX.io lets you buy bitcoin with a credit card, ACH bank transfer, SEPA transfer, cash, or AstroPay. Purchases made with a credit card give you access to your bitcoin immediately. CEX.io works in the United States, Europe, and certain countries in South America.
SatoshiTango is a South American Bitcoin exchange. Users in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua can use SatoshiTango to buy bitcoin.
Payment methods include bank transfer, bank wire, cash deposit in Buenos Aires or through a coupons from PagoFacil, RapiPago, BaproPagos, CobroExpress or ProvinciaPagos.
You can use our Bitcoin ATM map to buy bitcoins with cash. Bitcoin ATMs can be a quick and easy way to buy bitcoins and they're also private. That convenience and privacy, however, comes with a price; most ATMs have fees of 5-10%.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading in Turkey has been growing in popularity over the last few years. There are a number of reasons for this, chiefly the availability of good local exchange offerings and the rampant inflation of the Turkish Lira that mkaes it unsuitable for long-term investment.
As you can see, the Turkish Lira (TRY) has been steadily losing value against the U.S. dollar, and fell -20% in the last year alone.
If you had savings worth the equivalent of USD$100,000 in 2015, today this would be worth about $40,000, equalling a 60% loss in just 5 years.
The U.S. dollar has mostly held its strength over this period, though it is still subject to consistent devaluation by way of price inflation.
Gold over the last five years would have returned 75%, an alternative toward which many Turkish investors are turning.
Yet if a Turkish investor had chosen to put their money into Bitcoin back in 2015, or even just allocate a portion of their portfolio to BTC, the gains would have vastly outstripped the losing lira and the barely steady dollar. With BTC trading at about $240 five years ago, any investment from then has now seen 4,300% capital gains. It's not hard to see why there is strong interest in getting money out of the Turkish Lira and into a harder asset like Bitcoin.
Despite having banned Twitter in the past, and proclaimed that Bitcoin is incompatible with Islam" due to its speculative nature, Bitcoin is legal in Turkey. The government does not consider it a form of money and so has left it unregulated.
This means that Bitcoin users in Turkey don't need to worry about prosecution or having their accounts frozen for trading the cryptocurrency. However, it also means that there is little regulatory support for the fledgling industry in Turkey, and so customers have very few places to turn if they are burnt by a rogue exchange. For that reason, it's worth doing your due diligence before entrusting your funds to any exchange. Check out our list below of the best and safest cryptocurrency exchanges in Turkey.
There are three main types of Bitcoin wallet and all of them are supported in Turkey:
The Ledger Nano X is the newest crypto hardware wallet, and is very easy to use. It connects to iOS, Android & desktop computers.
ZenGo is an easy-to-use iOS and Android Bitcoin & crypto wallet. Start within 20 seconds.
Founded in 2013, BTCTurk is the largest exchange based in Turkey by volume.
BTCTurk is mostly a fiat on-ramp, meaning that they primarily cater to users who want to turn their lira into Bitcoin, rather than those that are looking to trade a wide range of digital assets. Until Huobi's planned opening in the Turkish market comes to fruition, BTCTurk is the only fiat-to-crypto platform in the country.
Crypto deposits and withdrawals are free of charge, with no limits on either.
Fees are very competitive. BTCTurk Pro lists 12 different assets with TRY trading pairs, including Ether (ETH), Chainlink (LINK), as well as a TRY/USDT pair.
With an average daily volume of USD$53 MM, liquidity is likely adequate for all beginner and intermediate traders and investors managing portfolios up to a few tens of thousands of dollars.
Cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals are free of charge. All users can withdraw cryptocurrencies without paying transfer fees.
BTCTurk Pro's interface adheres closely to the industry standard, meaning traders should have no trouble switching between exchanges.
97% of user deposits are held in multi-sig cold storage, safeguarding funds which are not being actively traded. Two factor authentication, withdrawal PIN codes, and anti-phishing codes are all available to help secure user accounts.
BTCTurk also offers an API interface for all OAuth 2.0 compatible interfaces.
The mobile app is available for Android and iOS.
Bitcoin ATMs are a convenient way to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for cold hard cash. This method usually incurs relatively high (5-10%) fees, but that's the price to be paid for the convenience of getting cash for your Bitcoin in less than half an hour.
Many ATM operators publish live prices for their machines, so you can see the exact rate you'll get before even visiting the ATM.
Some will require you to complete identity verification, though for many this is as simple as confirming a phone numer.
Turkey has had its share of Bitcoin hacks and scams.
One of the most prominent was Turcoin, a pyramid scheme which collapsed in 2018, taking more than 100 million lira of investor money.
Turcoin splashed cash to attract attention in the early days of the project. There were parties with celebrity guests, TV ads, and even giveaways of BMWs and Mercedes to early investors.
Characteristic of a ponzi or pyramid scheme, Turcoin's founders promised outsized returns to those who got in early. Returns of 16% on an initial 1500 TRY were guaranteed, plus a bonus of 250 TRY once enough new investors had been brought in (this should definitely be setting off alarm bells).
In a country where the average worker makes about 2250 TRY (2018 figures) a month, this initial investment represents almost three weeks' work: a sizeable sum of money.
To add needed legitimacy to the project, Turcoin claimed that is was "Turkey's national cryptocurrency" and took advantage of the government's vague statements regarding crypto to imply that Turcoin was the chosen coin.
After nine months, the inflow of new money had dried up to the point where the scheme's administrators were unable to pay out the promised returns. This is where it all falls apart. For a project with no fundamentals and no utility apart from its record of dividend payouts, as soon as the trust is gone the pyramid collapses.
The two founders of Turcoin were arrested in July 2018 as part of a police investigation into the alleged defrauding of investors.
Muhammed Satıroğlu, one of the two accused conspirators, protested his innocence, claiming that Turcoin was a legitimate project and payments had stopped because his accounts had been frozen.
The Turcoin website (no longer accessible) posted a message in the wake of the arrests and accusations. It stated:
We have shared the data requested by the relevant authorities within the scope of the investigation and we have stopped accessing the wallet in order to prevent further processing. We remind you of the importance of not taking into account such frivolous news organizations in our country where the journalism profession is on its last legs.
At the end of the day, it's not the two founders of the scam who will suffer most, but those among the 10,000 defrauded who could not afford to lose the money they had invested.
In November 2018, Turkish police arrested 11 people suspected of hacking into cryptocurrency exchange accounts and withdrawing funds. The arrests came after more than a dozen people reported their losses to police.
About 437,000 TRY (equivalent to USD$80,000 at the time) were stolen, laundered, and withdrawn via Bitcoin ATMs and banks.
In addition to arresting those suspected to be behind the hack and those caught on security footage trying to withdraw the funds, police also seized computers, memory sticks, 18 mobile phones and SIM cards, and a fake ID.
In early 2019, Turkish police arrested 24 people in relation to the apparently unconnected theft of $2.47 million worth of BTC, ETH, and XRP from an unregistered Istanbul-based crypto firm.
Both of these hacks involved compromising users who stored their crypto holdings on exchanges, once again proving the necessity of using your own wallet.
After the Turkish Central Bank President's comments about Bitcoin potentially playing a role in economic stability, it's reasonable to wonder if there are any plans for Central Banks to hold Bitcoin as a reserve asset, much like they do with gold or U.S. treasuries.
Yet there is no indication from any Central Bank that they currently hold Bitcoin as a reserve asset, or have any intention of doing so. The general attitude can be summed up by the recent remarks of Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Reserve Bank of England.
Crypto assets such as Bitcoin which have appeared in the last ten years... don’t have any connection to money at all... their value can fluctuate widely unsurprisingly. They strike me as fundamentally unsuited to the world of payments where a certainty of value matters.
Stablecoins could offer some useful benefits. For example, they could further reduce frictions in payments, by potentially increasing the speed and lowering the cost of payments (particularly if global stablecoins were to be established).Stablecoins may offer increased convenience, including via integration with other technology, such as social media platforms or retail services.
If stablecoins are to be widely used as a means of payment, they must have equivalent standards to those that are in place today for other forms of payment types and the forms of money transferred through them. This will ensure that they are safe and resilient and that consumers can use them with confidence.
Stablecoins seem to be the way of the future, at least for central banks and those dependent on their services.
This is likely to be in the form of a Central Bank Digital Currency CBDC.
There are a number of sites that allow you to trade gift cards for Bitcoin.
Paxful is one of the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) exchanges out there, and has a range of options for buying Bitcoin with gift cards.
There is quite a steep markup on purchases made with gift cards denominated in Turkish Lira, so if you can use one with USD you will get a much better rate.CoinCola is another Bitcoin/gift card marketplace, though with limited options for TRY-denominated cards. There are however many options for USD valued Amazon, Google Play, and Visa/MasterCard/American Express prepaid cards, and many others.
Coinbase is available to Turkish residents.
However, Turkish users cannot use Coinbase as a fiat on- or off-ramp, i.e. there is no way to buy or sell cryptocurrencies on Turkish Coinbase. Users can only convert between different assets and use their Coinbase account as a wallet.
The best way to check the price of Bitcoin in Turkey is to go the your exchange of choice and check the price in your local currency that Bitcoin last sold for. The price of an asset is just this - the value of the compensation for which it was most recently exchanged. This price differs across markets, i.e. one exchange may have a slightly lower or higher price depending on varying barriers to entry and liquidity. So, the price that most matters is the one you can actually trade at. This is most likely to be the price on the exchange you use the most.
See above for a list of the best Bitcoin exchanges in Turkey.
There are also a range of websites such as CoinMarketCap and Nomics that list the prices of hundreds of digital assets, drawn from a range of exchanges and averaged out.
A 2015 study by ING reported that Turkey had the highest rate of confidence in Bitcoin of any of the nations surveyed. 1000 people in each of 13 European countries plus the USA and Australia were contacted and asked a range of questions about their spending habits and views about digital currencies.
Turkey had the highest level of confidence in Bitcoin of any country surveyed, with 45% of respondents agreeing that it was the future of online spending.
This was reported as a coup for the Turkish Bitcoin community.
Yet a majority of people in Turkey still do not even know what Bitcoin is.
A recent study also cast doubt on the real penetration of Bitcoin into Turkey. Published in July 2020, five years after the original ING survey, this study claimed that five out of six Turkish people have still never heard of Bitcoin. 96.8% of people do not know that it is blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Researchers spoke with 6253 poeple until they had reached 1000 who had heard of Bitcoin and could answer further questions.
Out of these six and a half thousand respondents, 44 reported having traded cryptocurrency in some form, which works out to 0.7%. This is much lower than the 9% reported back in 2015.
The study's researchers recognized that 44 was much too small a sample size to obtain any further information. They assembled a group of 300 regular crypto users, and derived the following observations:
According to a July survey by BTCTurk carried out in conjunction with the Istanbul University Department of Statistics Application and Research, trust in Bitcoin rose by 23% since the beginning of the pandemic. This increasing interest comes at a time when many people feel alienated by offical responses to global conditions, both economically and socially. One thing to note about this study, however, is the small sample size of 379 people.
Turkey and its people have gotten painfully familiar with the effects of monetary inflation and economic destabilization in recent years. Could Bitcoin be part of the solution?
The official reaction to Bitcoin in Turkey has been slow and cautious, but not unfavorable.
Digital coins pose new risks to Central Banks, including their power over the money supply and price stability, and the communication of monetary policy... [though they] could be an important element for a free economy, and the technologies utilized can help to accelerate and streamline payment systems.
In 2019, three days after Cetinkay's surprise ousting from his role as head of the Central Bank, the Turkish government approved the Bank's 11th Development Plan. This plan included issuing a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) - essentially a stablecoin or other minimally-fluctuating coin that would replace the digital dollars currently in the system with a blockchain alternative. The plan also outlined the Bank's support for blockchain infrastructure in the country, with the stated goal of turning Istanbul into a internationally recognized financial and technology hub.
Any exchange with a Turkish Lira trading pair will allow you to sell your Bitcoin for fiat currency. BTCTurk Pro has TRY trading pairs for BTC, DASH, EOS, ETH, LINK, LTC, NEO, USDT, XLM, XRP, ATOM, and XTZ.
You can also use one of the twoBitcoin ATMs in Istanbul if you wish to exchange your Bitcoin for cash in the quickest amount of time.
LocalBitcoins is another option. Here, you can buy and sell Bitcoin for a wide range of payment methods, from gift cards to bank transfers. LocalBitcoins is a peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange, where you buy and sell with another individual. This does introduce a degree of risk, though by ensuring that you conduct all business on the platform, make use of its escrow services, and only trade with users who have a good reputation, you'll minimize any potential problems.
You could also use a service like eGifter to sell your Bitcoin for gift cards.