I first heard of Bitcoin in early 2017, when a friend of mine mentioned he was paying one of his developers in Bitcoin. After having a chat with him about it, I grabbed my laptop and started researching Bitcoin on the internet. A few days later, I bought my first Bitcoin, and just like that my journey into the crypto space had officially started.
Over the upcoming months, I read a lot of material — about a few hundred white papers and most of the books available back then, joined many events such as Binance meetups where I was the winner of all the quiz events and eventually ended up organizing crypto meetups weekly in Istanbul. I also took part in founding the first gatherings for crypto enthusiasts in Turkey where we worked with projects like ANKR, INSTAR and other local exchanges.
Over time, my experience of creating and attending events allowed me to develop a large, international network, and I owe this to my background as a soft skills trainer in which I was training people from over 30 countries on EQ skills such as communication, discovering talents, teamwork, etc.
Eventually, these connections and experiences in the space helped me during my crypto journey, and I took on roles as the regional manager for Bibox Exchange Turkey, and became the Polkadot Ambassador (and I still am to this day). For the last couple of months I have been working at Bitexen Exchange as a senior researcher.
From my observations in gathering places and amid the process of establishing connections with the Turkish community, I can say that people are very interested in crypto. When Bitcoin hit $19K in 2017, you could hear the word Bitcoin everywhere on the streets, in cafes and even taxi drivers asked you about it.
The price increase created an avalanche of interest in crypto simply through word of mouth. Some were underestimating crypto, while some were praising it. In the end, crypto appeared on TV channels, with religious officers discussing whether it was convenient to trade, scam projects were reported, and people ending up in jail for creating those scams. There even was a story of a guy who raised money from several people. My guess is that he fundraised around a million dollars, and then invested it in mining farms. When Bitcoin crashed from 19K, he couldn’t pay back investors, and was condemned as an international criminal after he left the country.
In 2020, there’s a whole different community rallying around crypto now. People are researching and following the newest trends. This could be considered to be a result of the volatility and value change of Turkish currency, the lira. In the last three years, the Turkish lira has lost around 50% in value against the U.S dollar. During this time, Bitcoin’s value rose 45 times against the Turkish Lira and is still going up. Everyone in the country knows that the Turkish Lira is not stable anymore, and is trying to buy gold, silver, U.S Dollars, or crypto, especially Bitcoin. As a result of this, some of the largest exchanges in the industry, Binance, Huobi, OKEx made their entrance into the Turkish market.
2020 marked the birth of many large and stable communities. People were seeking beneficial information about crypto and eager to learn trading tactics. An average community group on Telegram is around 8,000-10,000 people, a sizable amount of growth compared to 2017, when communities were only around 1,000-2,000 people. Research reports are backing the consistent growth in adoption and we still have a long way to go. To date, there are at least 2 million people in Turkey who have invested in cryptocurrencies in a country with a population of 83 million.
Personally, I feel very grateful for being a part of the cryptocurrency culture that is making life increasingly borderless. I’m witnessing a historic moment in Bitcoin, both in its disruptive technology and financial value. By being a CoinMarketCap Ambassador, I want to reach out to many people, who are still on the outside, and haven’t heard about crypto yet.
You can find me on Twitter here.