In the vibrant city of Istanbul, which serves as Turkey’s financial capital and bridges cultural gaps between East and West, an event of grand proportions brought thousands of blockchain, Web3, and crypto enthusiasts together. The Istanbul Blockchain Week, an event tailored to address diverse Web3-related discussions, took place at the Hilton Istanbul Bomonti on August 22 and 23 of 2023.
Keynotes covered a plethora of hot topics, ranging from artificial intelligence (AI), regulations, Web3 gaming to real-world blockchain applications. Of greater relevancy for the region, talks focused on Islamic finance and the development of a Shariah-compliant Web3 economy gained substantial attention. The rapidly growing crypto market, particularly in the United Arab Emirates, paired with their interest in Turkey’s market, made the occasion an opportune moment for the event’s organizer, EAK Digital, to host the event.
Timing the event during August was strategic, as per EAK Digital’s founder and CEO, Erhan Korhaliller, to leverage Istanbul’s cooler climate to attract major UAE players. Korhaliller’s tactics indeed paid off, seeing remarkable participation from government representatives and prominent banks even amidst a bear market.
The Istanbul Blockchain Week’s bustling agenda goes beyond the main stage. Enthusiasts networked, held roundtable discussions, participated in workshops and even explored the metaverse. However, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) were notably absent due to diminished interest from the public and a substantial drop in NFT trading.
The event also saw young developers coding diligently in IstanHack, a hackathon designed to foster solutions promoting ethical finance and sustainable development. This aligns with the overall mission of the event to cater to the 1.9 billion potential users of Islamic finance who display dissatisfaction towards traditional banking due to the involvement of interest.
AI, once again, captivated the crowd’s attention both on and off the stage. Loic Claveau, SingularityNET’s chief marketing officer, during his keynote speech titled “The Future of Decentralized Generative AI on Blockchain”, emphasized the unique opportunity people today have to own their data, an essential factor for AI’s function.
Turkish banks’ attendance at a panel for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) indicated a positive trend towards adoption, albeit slowly, which was echoed by crypto figureheads such as Addy Crezee, founder of NFT ticketing platform Ozaru.
Despite the tug of war between blockchain’s naysayers and proponents, the sizeable turnout at events like the Istanbul Blockchain Week indicates a steadily increasing acceptance and integration of Web3 and blockchain technology into modern finance, marking a pivotal chapter in the history of blockchain.