Private-owned Istanbul Bahcesehir University has established the first blockchain research center in Turkey with the goal to make the cryptocurrency technology used in various sectors, Sabah daily reported on Friday.
Called Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center (BlockchainIST Center), it will become fully operational in the upcoming academic year. The educational division will teach students about the capabilities of cryptocurrency technology. The Bahcesehir University will hire Turkish and international scholars and will allow testing of blockchain-based projects at the center.
“The purpose of the BlockchainIST project is 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,” Bora Erdamar, the director of the new center, told Sabah.
Blockchain, the technology that underpins cryptocurrency like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), has widened its usage in various sectors: from sport to health, and from agriculture to banking. Developed as a distributed ledger technology (DLT), it has the capabilities to lower the cost, speed up transactions and track new changes thus bring transparency.
Bahcesehir University blockchain center does not mean support for the cryptocurrency as in other recently revealed university research centers worldwide. The Istanbul-based university plans to cooperate with other universities, the business world and governmental agencies.
“We will strive to train Turkey's human resources in blockchain and enable the country to lead the world in this area,” Erdamar explained.
Turkey and cryptocurrency
Last month, Turcoin, a project for Turkish cryptocurrency, was shut down exposed as a fraudulent scheme with the two founders being arrested incurring losses of around $21.1 million for investors.
In November 2017, the country’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) said that buying or selling virtual currencies is not compatible with religion.
“Buying and selling virtual currencies is not compatible with religion at this time because of the fact that their valuation is open to speculation, they can be easily used in illegal activities like money laundering and they are not under the state’s audit and surveillance,” Diyanet said.