Turkish club completes ‘world's first’ transfer in bitcoin

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
ISTANBUL
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Amateur Turkish football club Harunustaspor signed a player Tuesday and paid for the transfer in bitcoin, marking a world first.

The Sakarya-based team signed 22-year-old Ömer Faruk Kıroğlu for 2,000 Turkish liras ($531.70) worth of Bitcoin and 2,500 liras in cash, for a sum total of 4,500 liras.

Club chairman Haldun Şehit declared that the move was the first of its kind by a sports club in Turkey and worldwide.

"We did it to make a name for ourselves in the country and the world... We are proud of this," he said.

Kıroğlu joined his new teammates in a training session shortly after the signing ceremony.

"This is a first for me and for the world," Kıroğlu said. "As the chairman said, we are doing something new. I am open to new things."

The player expressed hope that his time at Harunustaspor would be beneficial for both him and the club.

Cryptocurrency Bitcoin has been on a highly volatile track in the last few months. After hitting an all-time high just shy of $20,000 on Dec. 17 on the Bitstamp platform, it plunged more than 50 percent over the ensuing month to below $10,000, but has since stabilized to just shy of $11,000.

Created in 2009, bitcoin uses encryption and a blockchain database that enables the fast and anonymous transfer of funds outside of a traditional centralized payment system.

Turkey's government has warned against the use of the cryptocurrency, saying it carries risks as no legal foundations were available for such transactions.

Authorities around the world, particularly in Asia, have attempted to rein in the global boom in trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies — a form of digital money created and maintained by its users.

European Union states and legislators agreed last month on stricter rules to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing on exchange platforms for Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

It has soared more than 900 percent so far this year, posting the largest gain of all asset classes, amid increased institutional demand for cryptocurrencies as their financial and mainstream use has expanded.

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