Turkey’s Garanti BBVA Launches Crypto Wallet Service

Turkey’s Garanti BBVA Launches Crypto Wallet Service

Garanti BBVA, a prominent Turkish bank, has introduced a cryptocurrency wallet service for its customers. This new service allows users to securely buy, sell, and store Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and USD Coin (USDC).

Garanti BBVA’s Crypto Offering

Garanti BBVA Digital Assets, a subsidiary of Garanti BBVA Financial Technologies Inc., now offers a crypto wallet service through its mobile platform, Garanti BBVA Crypto. This initiative marks a significant milestone in Turkey as it is the first instance of a bank subsidiary independently developing and launching a cryptocurrency wallet.

The newly launched wallet enables customers to transfer and store Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USD Coin securely. This move aligns with Garanti BBVA’s strategy to remain at the forefront of the evolving fintech landscape. The bank has been exploring blockchain technology and cryptocurrency services for several years, recognizing their transformative potential in the financial sector.

The wallet is available on the App Store for iOS users, featuring enhanced security measures and digital payment capabilities. Çağrı Süzer, Garanti BBVA’s Executive Vice President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of BBVA Digital Assets, highlighted that pilot studies for the service have been successfully completed. Initially launched in beta for a select group of customers, the Garanti BBVA Crypto app is now accessible to all users. Currently supporting BTC, ETH, and USDC, the bank plans to expand its asset range and improve its service infrastructure over time.

The launch of Garanti BBVA’s crypto wallet responds to the growing demand for cryptocurrency services in Turkey.

Rising Crypto Adoption and Security Challenges

In 2022, the cryptocurrency market experienced a significant increase in theft, with hackers stealing over $3.8 billion worth of digital assets. This surge in criminal activity underscores the urgent need for secure custodial services for crypto assets. Traditional banks have started to offer these services, providing a reliable and secure platform for customers to manage their digital assets.

The increase in hacking activities has significantly impacted the cryptocurrency market, leading to considerable investor losses and prompting regulators to push for enhanced consumer protections. According to a Chainalysis report, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols were the main targets, accounting for 82.1% of all stolen cryptocurrency. Cross-chain bridge protocols were particularly vulnerable due to the centralized pools of funds they create, which are attractive targets for hackers.

High-profile heists, hacking incidents, and fraudulent activities have plagued the cryptocurrency market, causing substantial losses for investors and exchanges. A report from Immunefi revealed that hacking incidents account for 95% of all cryptocurrency thefts, with the remaining losses resulting from fraud and other scams.

In response to these challenges, traditional banks are positioning themselves as trusted custodians of crypto assets. By offering custodial services, banks aim to provide customers with a secure platform for handling their digital assets. For instance, in January, Binance traders were given the option to custody their assets with regulated Swiss institutions like Sygnum Bank and Flow Bank, marking a shift from the previous practice of storing assets directly on the Binance exchange or with lesser-known entities.

Garanti BBVA’s introduction of a crypto wallet is a significant step toward meeting the rising demand for secure and reliable cryptocurrency services in Turkey. As traditional banks continue to adopt and integrate blockchain technology, they play a crucial role in ensuring the security and stability of the burgeoning cryptocurrency market.

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