Category Archives: Istanbul

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Hodlers Buying Turkish Homes for as Little as 9 Bitcoins

Hodlers Buying Turkish Homes for as Little as 9 Bitcoins

Cryptocurrency shows no signs of dropping off as a means of payment in the real estate sector despite a lower Bitcoin price and the Turkish real estate market is the most recent location to offer buyers a digital means of settlement for their new home.

A house in Turkey can now be purchased for a little as 9 BTC (about USD 35,000) each, which has this writer thinking about a life in the sun. One of the platforms encouraging Turks and foreign investors to look to real estate purchasing with their Bitcoin is Antalya Homes with offices right across Turkey.

In fact, Turkey, with its unique position dividing two continents, became one of Europe’s most popular property investment locations in 2018 with some 40,000 properties having been sold to foreigners throughout last year.

Houses can now be purchased in a number of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC) Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Litecoin (LTC), Tether (USDT) and Stellar (XLM). Bayram Tekce, Chairman of Antalya Homes points out the befits of paying digitally:

“Payment with cryptocurrency enables a more reliable and faster transaction performance such as money transfer between bank accounts without any exchange loss. By making investments particularly in countries like Turkey, where housing is becoming increasingly valuable, investors can shift their investment to a less risky and safer area, and multiply their savings.”

To make it easier for clients the company has created a “Pay with Bitcoin” feature on the website, and to date, nine real estate purchases have been made using the facility.

Also in Europe, the first real estate transaction on blockchain was successfully completed in Switzerland last year. The feat was achieved by Blockimmo Ltd, a blockchain property transaction platform, in collaboration with two other companies.

The blockchain-backed real estate transaction, worth CHF 3 million (Swiss francs approximately USD 2.98 million), was conducted by Elea Labs Ltd, Swiss Crypto Tokens Ltd and Blockimmo, for a deal consisting of a restaurant and 18 apartments.

 

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Istanbul Cryptocurrency Firm Loses $2.47 Million, Hackers In Custody

Istanbul Cryptocurrency Firm Loses .47 Million With Hackers In Custody

An undisclosed cryptocurrency exchange in Istanbul, Turkey was hacked this week of a reported USD 2.47 million.

The company was attacked by a group which has now been detained by Turkish authorities after a nationwide investigation across 8 provinces, and so far has only recovered USD 256,000 of the stolen funds.

The exchange alerted the authorities at the time, reporting that a large amount of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP had been stolen. The Istanbul Cybercrime Branch Officer later clarified that two companies had been targeted in a theft which amounted to 13 million Turkish lire (USD 2.47 million). The stolen funds had been transferred from both companies’ wallets into wallets in the hackers’ possession.

It transpires that hackers had been using the ‘Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds’ (PUBG) online video game as a means of communication. It is clear that the compromised security of both companies could have been avoided if the necessary security measures had been incorporated into their trading systems, an issue which often befalls smaller exchanges, despite warnings from regulators.

Most larger exchanges have far better security, which makes the success rate of such hacks uncommon, limited to smaller exchanges without rigid security procedures. However, the recent misfortunes of QuadrigaCX prove that no measures are completely infallible after CEO Gerald Cotten died having moved funds from the company hot wallet into cold storage for security purposes, protecting his clients’ funds from potential hackers.

The now insolvent crypto exchange QuadrigaCX was left unable to access USD 190 million of funds stored in the cold storage due to the CEO having sole responsibility for the private key.

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Turkey Joins Current Swell of Global Blockchain Educators with New Centre

Turkey is opening a centre in Istanbul which will run a course aimed at teaching the public about blockchain technology.

The opening of yet another centre aimed at either informing the public or offering further training for blockchain and cryptocurrency professionals may not be surprising given current educational trends, but it is the first in Turkey.

There are now many opportunities for blockchain developers, but clearly not enough skilled technicians to fill these gaps. Toptal, a marketplace for hiring tech talent, recorded a 700% increase in demand for blockchain developers since January 2017. These positions can be well paid. According to Jerry Cuomo, VP of IBM’s Blockchain Technologies division, the best blockchain developers can command a salary above USD 250,000.

There are have been some early starters; institutions offering courses in digital information systems, the blockchain, and cryptocurrency. In the US, the Northeastern University College of Engineering in Boston and George Mason University in Virginia run courses in blockchain technology as part of other Advanced Educational Postgraduate Science programs.  The University of Cape Town now offers a cryptocurrency and fintech elective module as part of its wider Data Science Masters program as well.

In Scotland, the University of Sterling – as part of its Financial Technology Masters program, offers participants a primer to blockchain technology, which includes cryptocurrencies, decentralized applications, smart contracts, their applications and case studies.

This latest centre in Turkey, The Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center, or BlockchainIST Center for short, has been created to fill what is regarded as a gap in Turkey’s knowledge of blockchain technology and will be taught at University level. The centre has already been inaugurated at the Bahçeşehir University (BAU) at an opening last week.

Bora Erdamar, the centre’s director has suggested that it will be staffed by highly competent blockchain experts from around the world. She stated:

“…the purpose of the Blockchain IST project is to be the most important centre of research and development and innovation in Turkey in which scientific studies and publications are made in blockchain technologies”.

Turkey is another country that has recently stated its intention to become a blockchain hub.

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