In brief

  • Turkish cryptocurrency exchanges will have to report transactions exceeding 10,000 Turkish lira ($1,200) to the government.
  • The industry expected the threshold would be 75,000 Turkish lira ($9,100).
  • The government didn’t say when the regulation would take effect or how the limit is calculated.

Cryptocurrency exchanges in Turkey will have to report anyone who trades or invests more than 10,000 Turkish lira ($1,200) to the government’s financial crime agency.

Turkey’s Minister of Treasury and Finance, Lütfi Elvan, announced the forthcoming crypto regulation on the national channel CNN Türk last night.

He didn’t disclose how the government would calculate that threshold or when it would take effect. But once it does, exchanges have ten days to report those customers.

Elvan said that the government doesn’t think that crypto traders have “malicious intent,” clarifying that the country’s crypto anti-money laundering rules are mostly modelled after the recent guidelines issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the world’s standard setter for anti-money laundering regulation.

The Turkish government will also issue regulations to protect customers. “People must educate themselves about crypto,” he said. “I often hear from citizens who invest in crypto, and when I ask them what crypto is, they often have no idea.”

The minister’s announcement comes a week after the government subjected crypto exchanges to the same money laundering regulations that apply to banks.

But the 10,000 Turkish lira reporting threshold comes as a surprise to the industry. Until today, the Turkish crypto industry expected the reporting limit to be 75,000 Turkish lira ($9,100).

Mehmet Türkarslan, legal counsel at a major Turkish crypto exchange, told Decrypt that’s because MASAK, the country’s financial investigations agency, has long stipulated that institutions that fall under an unspecified “other” category must report financial activity above 75,000 Turkish lira. Crypto exchanges thought this classification applied to them.

Soon, Turkish law will ascribe cryptocurrency exchanges their own category, and with that, their own reporting threshold.

The government said two weeks ago that more comprehensive regulations, such as the one mentioned by the minister yesterday, would come by the end of this week. But the minister said crypto is a delicate matter and the government doesn’t want to rush things.

Last month, two Turkish crypto exchanges, Thodex and Vebitcoin, vanished overnight, locking up the funds of their customers with estimates varying from hundreds of millions of dollars to billions. That spurred fears of a total crypto ban, but Elvan reiterated that the government has no intention to ban crypto.