Dubbed BiGA, Takasbank’s new project aims to enable people to transfer physical gold stored at the Borsa Istanbul Stock Exchange (BIST), Turkey’s sole exchange entity, through digitized gold units on a blockchain, the bank announced on Sept. 6.
Turkey’s Istanbul Clearing, Settlement and Custody Bank (Takasbank) has announced its blockchain-based platform for trading physical gold.
The units, which are similar in form and function to physically-backed stablecoins, have their value tied to the traded gold. As “BiGA” is the Turkish abbreviation for one gram of gold, one BiGA is equivalent to one such amount, according to the project’s website.
Turkey’s second largest bank involved
According to the press release, Takasbank initiated the project in 2018 and has successfully completed pilots with a number of local financial firms and banks including Turkey’s second biggest bank Ziraat Bankası, VakıfBank, Albaraka Turk, Garanti BBVA and Kuveyt Turk.
Takasbank emphasized the confidentiality of transactions on the BiGA platform, while also stating that the transfer process can be overseen by authorities.
Per the project’s website, the bank will provide a wallet for users to store the tokens and BiGA will eventually be usable as a payment method for e-commerce.
Founded in 1988, Takasbank is the central clearing and settlement house in Turkey, which also provides central counterparty clearing services for specific BIST markets designated by local financial regulatory and supervisory agency, the Capital Markets Board of Turkey.
Last year, BIST was reported to be developing a blockchain-enabled customer database in collaboration with Takasbank and the Central Securities Depository of Turkey.
In July 2019, blockchain adoption waas listed by the government of Turkey as a major aspect of the country’s 2019–2023 economic roadmap.
Turkish Bank’s Blockchain Platform for Digital Gold Transfers Goes Live
Turkey’s Istanbul Clearing, Settlement and Custody Bank (Takasbank) announced that its blockchain-based, physical gold-backed transfer system is now live.
Turkish Takasbank launched BiGA Digital Gold to provide banks with a blockchain-based system for the issuance, repayment and transfer of digitized gold, according to an announcement on Dec. 30.
The BiGA system – first announced in September 2019 – enables participating banks to use blockchain tech to transfer digital assets representing a quantity of physical gold. Each asset represents a gram of gold that is physically stored in vaults of the Borsa Istanbul (BIST) Turkish stock exchange.
The BiGA project aims to “establish an infrastructure that will allow for the execution of the transfer of dematerialized gold at certain standards with their physical equivalents kept in safe custody using blockchain technology,” the official website explains. Speaking to Turkish news agency AA, Takasbank officials said:
“This platform distinguishes itself from many similar projects in the world by allowing the use of blockchain technology to transfer digital assets based on physical commodities, not having any value of its own, and ensuring full compliance with existing regulations.”
Major Turkish banks are on board
Takasbank launched the BiGA Digital Gold platform with the participation of several Turkish financial institutions, including state lenders Ziraat and Vakif, private lender Garanti BBVA, and private and state participation banks Albaraka Turk, Kuveyt Turk, and Ziraat Participation.
Takasbank is the central clearing and settlement house in Turkey, which also provides central counterparty clearing services for specific BIST markets designated by the local financial regulatory and supervisory agency, the Capital Markets Board of Turkey.
Turkey goes full throttle on blockchain
Following the announcement of plans for a national blockchain infrastructure, Turkey has seen steady growth in blockchain projects, both in the public and private sectors. In the 2020 Annual Presidential Program, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the government would finish testing its blockchain-based “Digital Lira” that year.
In September 2018, BIST developed a blockchain-based system to enable better financial data transfers in collaboration with Takasbank and the Central Securities Depository of Turkey.