In brief

  • Binance has partnered with a large Turkish bank.
  • Banks have historically been reluctant to bank with crypto companies.
  • The Turkish love crypto, according to polls.

Binance today announced a partnership with one of the largest banks in Turkey, Akbank. Binance’s customers can use the bank to deposit and withdraw Turkish lira.

Buying cryptocurrencies with Turkish Lira is already possible through its partnerships with companies such as Simplex and Coinal, but the partnership with Akbank now lets Turkish customers bank on Binance  “with the most competitive fees in Turkey,” it said

Binance is one of the biggest crypto exchanges. Image: Shutterstock.

“As part of our mission to continue working on increasing the freedom of money worldwide and notably in a country that is fast-adopting digital assets, we are expanding the available options to lower the barrier to entry,” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, in a statement. 

Binance said Akbank is the first bank to integrate directly with Binance. “As the industry scales with our products and services that grow in tandem, the availability and process of investing, exchanging and trading crypto will become more and more seamless,” said Zhao. 

The partnership with the large bank seems like an about turn from old-money, which has historically refused to bank with cryptocurrency businesses. Like many other crypto companies, in the past Binance resorted to banking with Crypto Capital, a payments processor for crypto companies that allegedly tricked banks into thinking it was running a real estate business. The main people behind Crypto Capital have since been indicted for fraud and money laundering. 

But Turkey appears to be warming up to crypto. The government’s testing a blockchain-based Turkish lira, and 20% of Turkish citizens own or use cryptocurrency, according to a 2019 poll by Statista. Even more, in a survey with Austrian bank ING, which showed that the world was getting sick of crypto, 62% of Turkish respondents held positive opinions about crypto. 

Correspondingly, other crypto exchanges have also upped their game when it comes to the Turkish Lira. Before Binance supported the Lira, rival crypto exchange Huobi Global announced in October that it would add a Turkish Lira/Tether pairing by the end of 2019.