Turkey has established the country’s first university-level blockchain center, aiming to close the blockchain expertise gap and ensure wide deployment of the technology, local news outlet Daily Sabah reported August 3.
The Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center (BlockchainIST Center) was inaugurated at Bahçeşehir University (BAU). According to the center’s director Bora Erdamar, BlockchainIST is set to be “the most important center of research and development and innovation in Turkey in which scientific studies and publications are made in blockchain technologies.”
Erdamar said that Turkey may have a chance to become the leading country in technology that will “transform humanity.” He underlined the importance of cooperation with other educational establishments, businesses, and government institutions in order to conduct proper blockchain research and examine possible use cases.
This year alone, Stanford University established the Center for Blockchain Research, supported in part by the Ethereum Foundation, and major Brazilian university Fundação Getúlio Vargas started offering the country’s first Master’s degree in crypto-finance. Ripple also donated $50 million to 17 universities globally to support education in blockchain and crypto.
While BlockchainIST’s director stressed that Turkey is becoming digitalized and putting in great efforts to keep pace with the rest of the world in digital transformation, Turkish authorities have demonstrated an ambiguous stance towards the crypto industry.
Last November, the country’s government took a harsh stance on Bitcoin (BTC), when lawmakers of the state Directorate of Religious Affairs said that BTC is “not compatible” with Islam. However, in February of this year, deputy chair of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party not only proposed regulations for the market, but also mentioned the possibility of a national digital currency, called the TurkCoin.