Istanbul Blockchain Week | Erhan Korhaliller | Interview (2020)
Erhan Korhaliller is a PR magician through his years running EAK Digital which is the leading Blockchain PR agency! Hear exactly why he is running the first ever blockchain week in Turkey, the worlds largest crypto adoption country and find a way to get there!
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DeFi is really a killer app right now. I mean, I can’t remember the latest figures on Ethereum that’s locked into DeFi now but it’s hundreds of millions of dollars I believe.
And by the way, that’s going to be one of our major tracks in the Istanbul blockchain week because DeFi is a major component which can help Turkish people obviously globally.
The TraderCobb crypto show talking business in blockchain.
Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the TraderCobb crypto show I’ve got with me today, good friend, and somebody who you want to hear about. I’ve got Erhan can’t pronounce his surname still to this day.
He’s the founder of EAK Digital, which is basically a blockchain PR company which is definitely one of the leaders out there. And what we’re going to talk to a lot about today is that he’s also running the first ever, Istanbul Blockchain Week out of Turkey.
Erhan it’s an absolute pleasure to have you. Thanks for your time. Craig, thanks so much for having me. Pleasure to be here.
Excellent. So look, let’s jump straight in. And just speak to a little bit about what you’ve done leading up to this Istanbul Blockchain Week. I want to know you know, how does somebody pull something like this off?
I mean, you’ve got the PR agencies you obviously know a lot of people just tell us a little bit about how you got into the space and and what you’ve been up to.
Yeah, so I’m like EAK Digital has been around for about three years now. You know, working in a crypto we’ve represented some of the largest projects, exchanges, wallets, you name it, like really, really wide wealth of projects across the world globally. So as you can imagine, we were going to events all the time.
I’ve also got like a we have a YouTube channel called EAK TV where you know, I’ve interviewed personally the SEC Roger Ver Charles Hoskinson big names. And that kind of kind of got us into the conference circuit. We were doing PR for like Delta summit in Malta some big events in in Athens and various cities around Europe.
And after a while you know, a lot of those events were asking us more saying you know, can you help us get speakers can you help us get sponsors. Can you do our PR? And suddenly like you know what, we may as well start doing our own thing at this point.
I mean, it’s not far off apart from that just logistics and yeah, you know, that got me really excited. I’m personally like a digital nomad or a crypto nomad shall we say and so I’m traveling from blockchain week to blockchain week, from big conference to big conference obviously I’m promoting my agent, my PR agency and our clients and obviously trying to win new clients and you know that that really made me understand like what made a conference good.
What made a conference bad and and you know, what, what, what kind of speakers you know, would help educate the space and you know what, what kind of people we want to keep out and that that now we’re going to put all those learnings into Istanbul blockchain which I’m really, really excited to do.
Excellent mate well pretty obvious progression into that through the PR and obviously I mean you’re in every event I don’t know how you do it but I really don’t. It’s well you’re single you got no kids I suppose that’s probably a pretty good formula for success in that in that means but look why why Turkey?
I got to ask the question why Istanbul? I mean, it would seem like it’s a bit of a stretch for anybody outside of Europe. Obviously anything is for anyone here in my side of the world to get across to your side of the world. Obviously, it’s not too far from Europe, but someone’s in the middle of it, right?
So why why Istanbul? why Turkey? what’s the what’s the provider? What’s the reasoning behind that?
So tech is a thriving community for for blockchain and cryptocurrency in the in the last year or so there’s been a various reports coming out about how Turkey’s leading into the adoption for crypto and the blockchain. And these are reports by you know, leading leading companies like IMG, these are reports that you know, people are just pulling off Twitter.
You know, there’s a lot of those. So for example, let me just reel this off, I mean, so for example, from the blockchain side of things, the Turkish Government is launching the Digital Lira, Turkish Lira next year. So that will be the second company behind China to do so.
And also they’ve launched a national blockchain infrastructure project, which is to help you know, public services and various municipal services use the blockchain within Turkey.
Now, of course, you know, obviously, you know, there’s reports about you know, Turkey politically, but you can’t deny that you know, that they are now trying to lead the pack and this this could be something fantastic to the Turkish economy because, you know, Turkish economy since 2016, really, since the failed coup has been struggling, you know, they had various US sanctions.
They which, you know, the Lira was was so volatile, which led to you know, a lot of adoption into Bitcoin into trading for other people trying to make money because the Lira was just, you know, devaluing so much it’s 25% emission as of October 2018, which is a huge amount that is and yeah.
And then obviously, there’s also they’re also planning to get regulation in this year so that the capital markets board have been advised by the Turkish Government to come up with clear regulatory framework in Turkey, which will allow companies to move in to incubate to to work on projects, which is very exciting.
And in addition to all of that. There’s Konya, which is the seventh biggest city in Turkey, two and a half million people. They’ve actually just announced the launch of a Konya coin, that you’ll be able to use in that city alone. And you’ll be able to use that for your public services like transport.
You’ll be able to use it for other municipal services, you know, maybe even taxes, we’re still to confirm that. And you know what, we’re hoping that delegates will be able to hear more about our conference, shall we say?
Yeah, look mate, I mean, look, I think people don’t realize outside of possibly Europe and Turkey, just how big that actually is. I mean, I’m looking right now. Just a quick little search. It’s 80.81 million populates in Turkey and for country like them, it’s not third world. I’m sure it has problems.
And it’s you know, it does border some problem regions. And it sort of opening up the door obviously for this sort of adoption of the technology and actually using crypto in a payment sense. And building out the blockchain side of things. It means a lot of people and if we compare that to Dubai, where Dubai has like a that they’ve been talking about a lot, I’m not sure how much progress has been made.
But having that, you know, blockchain city or digital city or whatever they whatever term they’ve coined. Istanbul’s got a much larger populates, than Dubai, and one would say, probably a much greater need to pick this up a lot faster.
So, it’s really groundbreaking that such a large country is really sort of taking those steps do you think Turkey could be or is one of the leaders leading countries out there at the moment with regard cryptocurrency use and blockchain development.
I mean, it is it is but the people don’t know about it, and that’s another reason why I’m doing this event to really showcase Turkey as the lead to put them on the map. And the IMG I didn’t even mention has Turkey at 20% of people that have used our own cryptocurrency.
So out of the 80 million, which I think is an 84 million now the latest figures, that’s you know, that’s a lot of people like the leading and the whole report, including the US, Australia, all of Europe. And then you’ve got like 62% said they’re positive about cryptocurrency so so the way that I see things here is that all of these projects I’m speaking to whether in Asia, or South America, wherever they are, that they’re missing, they’re missing a huge market here.
They come up and open the shop in Turkey, they could get they could potentially get that adoption that they’ve been hoping for, for for so long. And, you know, once the regulation becomes clear, they’ll have a really, you know a safe environment to do so.
Then the Turkish people like they, they deserve this chance, you know, they’ve been through a lot of crap the last few years, you know, like you find employment is at 27%, which is ridiculous, and even the genuine employments at 40 percent. Now, if you compare that to the UK and US were about three and a half.
So that really shows the difference. And, you know, for me personally, like my intrinsic, you know, feelings of putting on this event is that we can help this nascent industry bring bring growth in employment, growth, and, you know, jobs, you know, like, we all work remotely these days, you know, let’s, let’s, let’s help people get in there.
Let’s help educators come into this space, and really just grow, grow, grow Turkey, grow the Turkish projects as well, because like I said, you’ve got these amazing statistics, but then I’d go around, you know, Singapore, Paris, where I’ve been say, hey can you name me one Turkish project? Like no one can do it?
And that really annoys me because it’s like, how are they how are we getting stops when no one’s heard of the projects, you know, as a PR guy, it has to be even more. So you know, my my aim is really is to shine a light on the Turkish ecosystem using the connections that I have that I’ve made over the last three years.
And then also build strategic partnerships with Turkish projects and encouraged them to build Turkish communities as we’ve seen, by the way from Binance have opened office in Turkey Huobi have opened office in Turkey.
Various other exchanges are opening office in Turkey that I’m about that they want to release our conference, by the way, which you’ll hear more about another time. And it’s just getting more and more. It’s just getting more and more adoption.
And I’m just I just can’t wait to invite our friends and family and crypto family really these days into Turkey to show them that Turkey is a beautiful place. And it’s a wonderful project to wonderful country to you know, amplify their projects.
And I’d say what if they’ve, if anyone’s been in any crypto events before? There’s a lot of partying that goes on? And I mean, if they’ve read 4 million outside of Google’s figures, I mean, that’s 5% populace in a short period of time. So there must be a hell of a party scene there.
I mean, that will be during the blockchain week, that’s for sure. Well, the population probably got an 8.8 million nine months after the first ever blockchain week that go in hand here is putting on so like, I get why massive adoption. I mean, we see it often. I mean, those that the sort of sneak around Twitter and now again, you will see those stats and into the bars of what countries adopted and who’s using it and populace using.
You mentioned or alluded to the fact that 20% of Turks will be or use or have acquired cryptocurrency mainly Bitcoin, which is, which is phenomenal. So it sounds like it’s gonna be a pretty amazing event.
I mean, I know as an event is on the build, you know, there’s some things you can talk about some things we can talk about, give us the dates for a start, and who have you got confirmed and what can you tell us?
Okay, cool. So the, the inaugural book to me will be April 6 to April 10. And the Eastern Bloc, which is the flagship event of the week is April 9 and April 10. So but having said that, you know, April six, seven, and eight, we’re going to have a ton of side events. I’m honestly expecting around 20 side events run by leading exchanges, leading blockchains we’re going to be having hackathons.
We’re gonna having trading master classes. We’re going to be having cinema nights. We’re going Gonna be having parties in some of the most historic places in Istanbu. Listen Istanbul is such a beautiful city and while so a lot of projects I go to you know we sit in five or six star hotels and you know drink wine or whatever and that’s great but like it’s not really very much the city.
So many so many friends have said oh you know, I really wanted to do this number but I needed a reason to go and this is a fantastic way that they can incorporate blockchain and like their taste to travel at the same time.
Which just reminds me if anyone does would like to come our official travel partner TravelbyBit which allows you to travel by Bitcoin or USDT which is Australian as you know, we’re very aware of those guys.
Yeah, so they allow $30 anyone who has an Istan Block ticket can get $30 worth of credit if they book their travel using TravelbyBit so they should do that as well. But yes to we really hoping that the blockchain week will be unique and not like what you’ve experienced before.
So yeah, watch the space. We’ve got some really exciting announcements to cover in the next few days or one week maybe maximum that I would love to share right now and I’ve already typed like the tweets about it, but I just need to wait for the final confirmation before we hit enter.
Sounds like I mean, look, we are still a fair way out of it. Obviously, you know tickets for these types of events they do sell out I mean, if you consider, you know, I’ve been to what’s it called the big one Consensus, which I didn’t really like that much.
No offense to anyone from Consensus there was just so much going on. This is so big. These events do sell out. These events sell out, ladies and gentlemen. So if you have an interest in getting over Istanbul and you know, seeing this city involving some of the crypto stuff, the sites of a beautiful city as well as doing some business meetings and people.
Then I strongly suggest that you get across and you get that done ASAP because, you know, it sucks when you miss out and let’s be honest flights probably quite cheap right now with this whole Corona virus thing going on. So fill your boots and get yourself booked in.
So your timing looks really good too mate. It looks really good. And when I say that, I mean it’s always much easier. thing to do building an event leading into a fairly strong market. We have seen that strength in the market since the beginning of the year really when we were knocking on the door of 10,000.
I think if we do get in, I believe we will see a push to 10,000 in the coming days. I think what we’re going to see there is a lot more media coverage as well. And I got a theory as well, you might like this one.
Tesla’s been going jets crackers for a while it’s it’s been you know, as I think since December 31. So like 200% or something stupid like that. What happens is this the conversation is it reminds me of Bitcoin.
Now, if that comes into people’s viewpoint, they got Tesla Jesus, it looks like that Bitcoin chart did back in the day. That conversation then brings people to go what’s Bitcoin doing? And they start having more involvement.
Again, I start looking at the charts, I start going oh Jesus nearly 10 grand or it’s 10 grand. Then we see the PR machine which you are, and obviously mainstream media as well go Bitcoins above 10,000 we’re back at five figures and you kind of timed it pretty well whether that’s luck or you’re got a bit of trading bone in your body.
It doesn’t matter. It looks really really good. So yeah, I’m I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this thing sell out quick but also the sponsorship spots, you know, obviously events are run by attendees but also all they’re funded by attendees and and the and the sponsors.
Do you have any notable sponsors that we are able to talk about at the moment? I know that there’s a lot that say in the pipeline.
Notable sponsors that we can talk about are simply because we’re trying to keep them under wraps because we’ve tried to do something really amazing with them. We’ve got Bybit, who one of our gold sponsors, as you know them very well. We’ve also got TravelbyBit as you mentioned.
We have we have Shapeshift as well which is a great exchange, and he’s just exchanged him hoping that he’ll join us as well. And yeah, you know, we’ve got my custody solutions. The biggest the biggest sponsor, like I said, it’s been kept under wraps for now.
But having said that, just in terms of what you mentioned, about the Bitcoin price. I don’t think we should underestimate what Jack Dorsey just did for us, like last week with a Bitcoin hashtag.
You know, I mean, no, like, you know, that was trending on Twitter, people, even people were thinking, you know, like you said, I haven’t heard of Bitcoin in ages, what’s this cool thing I can do, and then everyone starts tweeting it again, it was awesome.
But again, the Google Trends go up. And obviously, you know, projects actually starting to mature, you know, projects are actually starting to actually bring out, you know, their, their, their, their, you know, their mainnets and everything else. And that’s just nice to adoption now, you know.
As a PR guy, back in a couple years ago, you know, we could get a post on the top media, just just why somebody’s launching a roadmap, we’re gonna say, whereas now it’s like, unless, unless you like go adoption, or you’ve got, you know, a partnership with a major non crypto company, then it’s just like, man, who cares, like no one cares.
If you’ve got if you’ve released your new exchange, this is never going to launch, you know, I mean, like, we have to really actually start seeing some corporate results. And we’re starting to see that. Not only that, I think DeFi is really a killer app right now.
I mean, I can’t remember the latest figures on Ethereum that’s locked into the DeFi now, but it’s hundreds of millions of dollars, I believe. And by the way, that’s going to be one of our major tracks in the Istanbul Blockchain Week, because DeFi is a major, major component, which can help Turkish people obviously, globally as well.
Um, you know, a few years ago, we saw like 100, like millions of Turkish bank accounts get frozen, for example. And also, you know, if DeFi, you know, people can obviously make a lot of money, you know, whether it’s just for interest or everything else, electronic coins.
So, yeah, I think, you know, all of that money that’s set in DeFi that people are holding, you know, not not selling, I think, you know, I’m very bullish on Ethereum for that reason and bullish in the market, as well.
Yeah, well, I mean, Ethereum is definitely on a tear at the moment. One of my favorite pairs of the minute just waiting for god damn, entry I can go very long time for the pullback to give me what I want, though. There was entry in the day. It was at three o’clock in the morning and I was doing what I do best and it was catching some Z’s.
But yeah, there’s an overwhelming positivity out there in the market. There is a hum out there, you know, many of the people that you represent, I can see them in on their Twitter feeds talking about the positives. And not not just saying Bitcoin is going to moon moon, Ethereum is going to moon actually backing it with statistical evidence that provides us with an understanding for what’s going on within these infrastructures in these spaces.
Ethereum being the big one I mean if you consider back end of last year, it was everyone sort of ratting on it and saying how bad it was, and this and that, and the other and now all of a sudden, that’s, that’s changed quite steeply. And we know that crypto is a very emotional space.
We know it’s a young, emerging space. And we also have a lot of young players in there. And a lot of people that have a big following that might not be so qualified to talk about things from a financial standpoint, maybe I’m not trying to downplay anybody or be rude and not in any stretch of the imagination. It just adds to that, that the nastiness that can come out in the maybe the ill-thought messages that come through based purely on emotion not upon upon fact.
And we’re saying the reverse of that now we’re seeing the positivity come out because markets are moving. Now, what I want to know there is this moment, you have got an awful lot of stuff in the pipeline for this particular Istanbul Blockchain Week.
I want to be plugged in as to what’s going on and where, how, what’s the best way for me to be able to track what’s going on your announcements, the parties that are happening there, the events that are happening, the side events, what’s the best way for me and for everybody else, for that matter?
To be able to track your progress on that? Yeah, certainly. I think probably the best way to join our telegram channel is Istanbul Blockchain Week 2020. There’s a very vibrant community and there are lots of chatter going on.
So please do join us and you know, maybe make some friends before we wrap up and have a beer. Yeah, and then also, obviously, obviously, our Twitter handle Istanbul Blockchain Wk couldn’t fit in the WEEK and then also IstanbulBlockchainWeek the website of course.
We’ll be uploading our events calendar which will have the first events for the blockchain be confirmed early next week. So probably by the time you listen to this, check out our website, check out the events calendar, get your tickets early, because a lot of tickets for those side events are you know, there’s only 100 or so of them. The VIPs. So if you get them early, get board, join the group say hey, and you know looking forward to seeing everyone there.
Yeah, look, I mean it’s, you know, instanbulblockchainweek.com. Is it? Yep. Yep. get onto that website instanbulblockchainwk on Twitter. So write this down guys instanbulblockchainwk, instanbulblockchainweek.com. The telegram group, which I think was instanbulblockchainweek, right? 2020 yeah
2020. And look it cant be I can’t sort of say this enough. When I go to events, it’s quite easy because I’ve been to plenty and I know a bunch of people in this space. It’s not hard to find people that you know, and have fun with them. But if you’re just going to an event you want to get the city and you know you think I’ll just go by myself.
These telegram groups and they’re the place to meet people because no parties are great when you got some fun to go with. When you’re going by yourself. You know, usually you probably have a couple more too many drinks, because you got to get that confidence up to go out there and meet a bunch of people get on that telegram group, even if you’re not going just to see what’s going on.
Because I know what you’re like, I know who you know and what you’re doing. And you’re putting an awful lot of passion in this project. And it makes the most sense for an event, you know, like Turkey is adopting cryptocurrency very, very quickly. It’s got a big population, and it’s got a big future.
And I wish you all the best going forward this mate and you need to be on that Twitter. And what’s it called telegram simply because once a hand starts to announce these things, the tickets will be selling out very, very quick.
So um, mate it’s been an absolute pleasure having a chat with you learning more about what’s going on in Istanbul. And I look forward to speaking to you again very, very soon mate. Thanks so much for your time.
Thanks so much for having me on and looking forward to seeing you in Istanbul as well Craig. Mate get me out there. I’ve never been in that city and I would love to see it.
Awesome. Have a good day. Ladies and gentlemen, have a good one. Bye for now.
That’s TraderCobb crypto show talking business in blockchain.
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