Cryptoasset trading

Fiat currency transactions

What rules and restrictions govern the exchange of fiat currency and cryptoassets?

No explicit rules and restrictions govern the exchange of fiat currency with cryptoassets. Cryptocurrency exchange and trading platforms usually determine their own exchange policy according to supply and demand equilibrium or other cryptoasset exchange markets with which they are partnered.

Exchanges and secondary markets

Where are investors allowed to trade cryptoassets? How are exchanges, alternative trading systems and secondary markets for cryptoassets regulated?

There is no regulatory framework determining specific marketplaces in which investors are allowed to trade. Numerous cryptoasset businesses currently operate in Turkey without obtaining a licence or permission from a Turkish regulatory authority. The existing legislative framework neither prohibits investors from trading cryptoassets nor provides a clear regulatory base for such trading transactions and systems. On the other hand, some financial regulatory authorities, such as the Capital Markets Board of Turkey (CMB) and the Banking Regulatory Supervision Authority (BRSA) have warned investors that cryptoasset trading is not yet regulated, thus they may incur serious risk.

 

Custody

How are cryptoasset custodians regulated?

There are no specific laws and regulation for cryptoasset custodians. In Turkey, custodian services are mainly regulated by the CMB and the BRSA. According to the Capital Markets Law (Law 6362), custody services refer to:

the services related to capital market instruments deposited or delivered in dematerialised or physical form in relation to capital market activities, whether due to capital market activities or as custodian or in order to manage or as a guarantee or regardless of the name.

Since cryptoassets are not deemed to be capital market instruments by the CMB, it is unclear whether cryptoasset custodians can be regulated under Law 6362. If cryptoassets are ever considered as a security or other capital market instrument under that law, businesses which offer custody services for cryptoassets may be subject to licensing requirements in the same way as other authorised institutions which hold securities.

Broker-dealers

How are cryptoasset broker-dealers regulated?

No specific regulations apply to cryptoasset broker-dealers. In Turkey, all intermediary institutions must be authorised by the CMB in order to be able to provide investment services. The licensing requirement is limited to various types of service such as securities trading, public offerings and derivatives trading. However, cryptoasset brokerage institutions cannot be considered as an intermediary service which must be authorised by the CMB as cryptoassets are not qualified as capital market instruments by the CMB yet.

Decentralised exchanges

What is the legal status of decentralised cryptoasset exchanges?

The legal status of decentralised cryptoasset exchanges is not defined in Turkey since no specific laws and regulations govern cryptoasset exchanges. On the other hand, various cryptocurrency exchange platforms are established in Turkey to provide decentralised cryptoasset exchange services

Peer-to-peer exchanges

What is the legal status of peer-to-peer (person-to-person) transfers of cryptoassets?

No specific regulation determines the legal status of peer-to-peer cryptoasset transfers.

Trading with anonymous parties

Trading with anonymous parties

The existing regulatory framework includes no specific regulation for cryptoasset trading with anonymous parties.

Foreign exchanges

Are foreign cryptocurrency exchanges subject to your jurisdiction’s laws and regulations governing cryptoasset exchanges?

No – since no specific laws and regulations govern cryptoasset exchanges in Turkey, foreign cryptocurrency exchanges are not subject to specific regulation for cryptoasset exchanges. 

Under what circumstances may a citizen of your jurisdiction lawfully exchange cryptoassets on a foreign exchange?

No specific laws apply to Turkish citizens who wish to exchange cryptoassets on a foreign exchange as cryptoassets are not legally recognised. Although several cryptocurrency platforms provide foreign exchange services to their customers, these businesses are not recognised by any Turkish regulatory body. Decree 32 on the Protection of Value of Turkish Currency regulates restrictions on payments made with foreign currency with the aim of the protection of value of Turkish lira. The following cannot be denominated in foreign currency or be indexed to foreign currency, except in circumstances determined by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance:

  • agreement/contract prices and any other payment obligation arising from sale and purchase agreements/contracts for movable and immovable assets;
  • lease/rent agreements for any movable and immovable assets, including vehicles and financial leasing; and
  • employment; service; and construction agreements, executed by and between persons residing in Turkey,

Accordingly, depending on where the exchange of cryptoassets takes place and where the parties to the exchange reside, the foreign currency ban or exceptions arising from Decree 32 may apply.

Taxes

Do any tax liabilities arise in the exchange of cryptoassets (for both other cryptoassets and fiat currencies)?

No specific tax regulations apply to the exchange of cryptoassets. According to the Income Tax Law (Law 193), the income of individuals is subject to income tax. The following types of income are subject to income tax:

  • commercial income;
  • agricultural earnings;
  • wages;
  • self-employment earnings;
  • real estate capital income;
  • securities capital income; and
  • other earnings and revenue.

The gains derived from cryptocurrency do not fall into any of these categories. If cryptoassets were to be  qualified as a commodity in Turkey, the income derived from the exchange of cryptoassets would be subject to income tax as commercial income (depending on the volume and continuity of the exchange). In addition, in line with the Corporate Income Tax Law (Law 5520), any corporate income (eg, income derived from cryptocurrency) is subject to taxation.

As there is no specific legal definition of cryptoassets in Turkey, there is uncertainty as to whether cryptoassets meet Turkish taxation requirements. Under the Value Added Tax Law (Law 3065) the exchange of cryptoassets is likely exempt from the scope of that law since the exchange of cryptoassets cannot be included in the type of transactions listed in Article 1 of Law 3065. However, if an intermediary service is provided for the exchange of cryptoassets, this business will be subject to Law 3065.

Law stated date

Correct on

Give the date on which the above content is accurate.

17 December 2019.