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Tales from the crypto: lira crisis fuels Bitcoin boom in Turkey | Business

In the offices of Altcointurk, a cryptocurrency hub tucked away in a sidestreet in Istanbul’s bustling Kadıköy neighbourhood, two wall-mounted TV sets showed the live value of currencies bitcoin and Ethereum, both graphs sloping downwards.

Altcointurk’s all-male inhabitants were not worried – in the chaotic world of cryptocurrency, their fortunes could soon change.

“A lot of people come here, some are rich, some are poor. But the target is always getting rich – although a lot of people think that if they invest a hundred dollars, they will get a million,” said one founder of Altcointurk known only as Shark, who pointedly added that he has trademarked his nickname.

“Other people come here to take their first lessons in the technical side of crypto, and then start to trade,” he said.

Altcointurk was founded to teach Turkish citizens about how to invest in cryptocurrencies, which provide a digital, decentralised alternative to the mainstream financial system.

Cryptocurrency trading has boomed in popularity in Turkey during a financial crisis that halved the value of the lira last year, while inflation recently surged above 30%, a two-decade high.

While most Turkish citizens looking to avoid the devaluation of their savings in lira tend to reinvest in dollars or gold, an increasing number of younger investors see cryptocurrencies as the way forward.

This has drawn the ire of the government, particularly President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who declared that “we are in a war against Bitcoin” and recently unveiled a programme to encourage Turkish citizens to switch their savings to lira and stash the cash in the banks.

To cryptocurrency believers, the increasing lack of trust in government solutions is proof that digital currencies are the best alternative to Turkey’s embattled lira.

Yet whether cryptocurrencies genuinely provide an opportunity to get rich is unclear. Evangelists such as the Altcointurk founders say that if the influx of unknowing investors risk falling prey to scams or simply wasting their money, it is the fault of the individual.

“People play at cryptocurrency trading like they’re gambling, like betting,” said Shark. I ask if this means people are essentially trying to gamble in order to get rich. “Yes, yes. It’s exactly like betting,” he said, laughing.

Shark declined to reveal how much money he has made through cryptocurrency investments, citing concerns that the government might suddenly swoop in and tax his gains.

Altcointurk members – by their own estimates – have trained more than 300 people since the hub started five years ago, and more attend a weekly event they host to preach the wonders of crypto.

But they are careful how they operate in an uncertain regulatory environment, sticking purely to teaching people how to trade rather than directly assisting or discussing the benefits of any one currency. “We’re providing a point of view,” said Shark.

Cryptocurrencies exist in a legal grey area in Turkey. The government banned their use to pay for goods and services in April last year, while trading them is still permitted.

Several exchanges, where citizens can trade lira or usually US dollars for cryptocurrency, have closed in recent months amid confusion over the trade’s legal status. Others have closed following high-profile scandals, such as the exchange Thodex, which shut down after the owner fled the country taking at least $2bn (£1.5bn) in funds with him.

But for some, the sense that others are getting rich outweighs their own sense of risk. “The huge volatility encourages people, as well as the news that other people made profits from previous bull runs,” said one crypto investor, who asked to be identified only by his initials, BG.

BG owns a digital media agency, and began investing in cryptocurrencies in 2017. “Even my mother is asking me to help her invest in Bitcoin now,” he said. “This started with the young, and now older people are interested. They give their money to their children or younger people and say: ‘Invest this for me, let’s see how it goes.’

“The risk is not investing itself, it’s because people might invest in unregulated exchanges without any protection from the government and end up losing all their money.”

The true size of the cryptocurrency market in Turkey is hard to estimate as many of the figures are produced by the industry itself., a news site associated with the cryptocurrency, said in December that Turkey had surpassed a million trades a day.

An estimated 5 million people in Turkey currently operate cryptocurrency trading accounts, according to politicians seeking to regulate the trade.

“While there’s clearly some segment of the market that can invest in cryptocurrency, I don’t think it’s for the average consumer to all hold a bit of crypto,” said Ganesh Viswanath-Natraj, an expert in the relationship between cryptocurrency and emerging markets at Warwick Business School.

Viswanath-Natraj pointed to the appeal of cryptocurrency in countries such as Turkey or Venezuela where inflation is high, but added that consumers are more likely to benefit if they choose so-called stablecoins, whose value is pegged to external factors such as the dollar. “The day-to-day fluctuations in Bitcoin are in the order of 10%, it’s high, so I wouldn’t advocate a complete reshuffle of savings to speculative cryptocurrencies,” he said.

Following a steep drop in the value of the lira last December, Erdoğan announced a new financial scheme to encourage citizens to deposit their money in Turkish banks to raise the value of the currency. The scheme has attracted 90bn lira (£4.7bn) in deposits, but little of this has reportedly come from foreign currency as intended.

“It’s a win-win opportunity on paper,” said BG. He said he declined to participate, as the programme requires long-term investments. Others, he said, felt it was simply too risky to trust the government.

“People opposed to the government, those that support the [political] opposition, they have trust issues,” he said. “Once you have trust issues, you don’t convert your money and enrol in a government campaign like this. It’s a good idea on paper but fundamentally it won’t solve any economic problems. Long-term, it’s not going to help anything.”

As the government attempts to encourage lira investments, Turkey’s parliament is drafting a law to regulate cryptocurrency markets, currently the subject of fierce debate among crypto enthusiasts.

Some fear undue regulation in an industry where freedom is prized. Others say that limited regulation is necessary to protect consumers from predatory exchanges.

Professional traders such as Bünyamin Emeç were dismissive of the government’s attempts to regulate the industry. “They have no clue what they’re doing, and decisions will be made by people who don’t understand how cryptocurrency works,” he said.

The appeal of engaging with an industry without government interference is also seen by some like Emeç as a reason to invest. “I call on people to move towards these liberating [trading] platforms – this is my mission, basically. It’s a way of life,” he said.

Emeç said continuing to invest in cryptocurrency was the only way for him to recoup $10m in digital currency trading losses and a Bitcoin scam that cost him more than $1m. “It’s a very volatile market, so I can only get that amount of money back through the same market,” he said.

Additional reporting: Gökçe Saraçoğlu

This article was amended on 25 January 2022. The name of the cryptocurrency hub in Istanbul is Altcointurk, not Altcoin as stated in an earlier version.

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Global Affairs

Open Source Software (OSS) Supply Chain, Security Risks And Countermeasures

OSS Security Risks And Countermeasures

The software development landscape increasingly hinges on open source components, significantly aiding continuous integration, DevOps practices, and daily updates. Last year, Synopsys discovered that 97% of codebases in 2022 incorporated open source, with specific sectors like computer hardware, cybersecurity, energy, and the Internet of Things (IoT) reaching 100% OSS integration.

While leveraging open source enhances efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and developer productivity, it inadvertently paves a path for threat actors seeking to exploit the software supply chain. Enterprises often lack visibility into their software contents due to complex involvement from multiple sources, raising concerns highlighted in VMware’s report last year. Issues include reliance on communities to patch vulnerabilities and associated security risks.

Raza Qadri, founder of Vibertron Technologies, emphasizes OSS’s pivotal role in critical infrastructure but underscores the shock experienced by developers and executives regarding their applications’ OSS contribution. Notably, Qadri cites that 95% of vulnerabilities surface in “transitive main dependencies,” indirectly added open source packages.

Qadri also acknowledges developers’ long-standing use of open source. However, recent years have witnessed heightened awareness, not just among developers but also among attackers. Malware attacks targeting the software supply chain have surged, as demonstrated in significant breaches like SolarWinds, Kaseya, and the Log4j exploit.

Log4j’s widespread use exemplifies the consolidation of risk linked to extensively employed components. This popular Java-based logging tool’s vulnerabilities showcase the systemic dependency on widely used software components, posing significant threats if exploited by attackers.

Moreover, injection of malware into repositories like GitHub, PyPI, and NPM has emerged as a growing threat. Cybercriminals generate malicious versions of popular code to deceive developers, exploiting vulnerabilities when components are downloaded, often without the developers’ knowledge.

Despite OSS’s security risks, its transparency and visibility compared to commercial software offer certain advantages. Qadri points out the swift response to Log4j vulnerabilities as an example, highlighting OSS’s collaborative nature.

Efforts to fortify software supply chain security are underway, buoyed by multi-vendor frameworks, vulnerability tracking tools, and cybersecurity products. However, additional steps, such as enforcing recalls for defective OSS components and implementing component-level firewalls akin to packet-level firewalls, are necessary to fortify defenses and mitigate malicious attacks.

Qadri underscores the need for a holistic approach involving software bills of materials (SBOMs) coupled with firewall-like capabilities to ensure a comprehensive understanding of software contents and preemptive measures against malicious threats.

As the software supply chain faces ongoing vulnerabilities and attacks, concerted efforts are imperative to bolster security measures, safeguard against threats, and fortify the foundational aspects of open source components.

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Choco: Revolutionizing The FoodTech Industry With Innovation & Sustainability | EU20

By Clint Bailey

— In the rapidly evolving world of food technology, European startup Choco has emerged as a pioneering force. With its website,, this Berlin-based company is transforming the way food industry professionals operate by leveraging innovative digital solutions. By linking restaurants, distributors, suppliers, and producers on a single platform, Choco is streamlining the supply chain process while promoting sustainability.

Let’s explore the journey of and its impact on the overall foodtech industry.

  1. Company: Choco Technologies GmbH
  2. Website:
  3. Head Office: Berlin, Germany
  4. Year Established: 2018
  5. Founders: Choco was co-founded by Daniel Khachab, Julian Hammer, and Rogerio da Silva.
  6. Industry: Choco operates in the foodtech industry, specifically focusing on digitizing the supply chain for the food industry.
  7. Funding: Choco has secured significant funding rounds from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners & Coatue Management.
  8. Market Presence: Choco has a strong presence in several European cities, including Berlin, Paris, London & Barcelona.
  9. Mission: Choco aims to revolutionize the food industry by leveraging technology to simplify supply chain management, promote sustainability, and reduce food waste.

Simplifying Supply Chain Management

One of the core focuses of Choco is to simplify supply chain management for food businesses. Traditionally, the procurement process in the food industry has been cumbersome and inefficient, with numerous intermediaries and manual processes. Choco’s digital platform replaces the traditional paper-based ordering system, allowing restaurants and suppliers to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

Choco’s platform enables restaurants to place orders directly with suppliers, eliminating the need for phone calls, faxes, or emails. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunications.

By digitizing the ordering process, Choco improves transparency, making it easier for restaurants to compare prices, track deliveries, and manage inventory efficiently.

Streamlining Operations For Suppliers & Producers

Choco’s impact extends beyond restaurants. The platform also provides suppliers and producers with valuable tools to streamline their operations. By digitizing their product catalogs and integrating them into the Choco platform, suppliers can showcase their offerings to a wide network of potential buyers.

Suppliers benefit from increased visibility, enabling them to reach new customers and expand their market presence. Moreover, Choco’s platform helps suppliers manage their inventory, track orders, and plan deliveries effectively. These features enhance operational efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable food system.
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Promoting Sustainability & Reducing Food Waste

Choco recognizes the critical importance of sustainability in the food industry. According to the United Nations, approximately one-third of the world’s food production goes to waste each year. By digitizing the supply chain and enabling more efficient ordering and inventory management, Choco actively works to combat this issue.

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Choco’s platform facilitates data-driven decision-making for restaurants, suppliers, and producers. By analyzing purchasing patterns & demand, Choco helps businesses optimize their inventory levels, reducing overstocking and minimizing food waste. Additionally, Choco supports local sourcing, enabling businesses to connect with nearby suppliers & promote sustainable, community-based practices.

Expanding Reach & Impact

Since its founding in 2018, Choco has experienced rapid growth and expansion. The startup has successfully secured significant funding rounds, allowing it to scale its operations and establish a strong presence across Europe and other global markets. Today, Choco’s platform is used by thousands of restaurants and suppliers, revolutionizing the way they operate.

Choco’s impact extends beyond operational efficiency or sustainability. By connecting restaurants, suppliers & producers on a single platform, Choco fosters collaboration & encourages the exchange of ideas. This collaborative approach strengthens the overall foodtech ecosystem and creates a supportive community of like-minded aiming to drive positive change within the industry.

Future Of FoodTech

Choco’s rise to prominence in the foodtech industry exemplifies the reach of sustainability, innovation, and community. Through its user-friendly platform, Choco simplifies supply chain management, streamlines operations for restaurants & suppliers, and actively promotes sustainable practices. By harnessing the potential of digital, Choco is disrupting the future of the food industry, making it more efficient and transparent.

As Choco continues to expand its impact and reach, its transformative influence on the foodtech sector is set to inspiring, grow other startups, and established players to embrace technology for a better and more sustainable food system.

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— Compiled by Clint Bailey | Team ‘Voice of EU’
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The Implications Of Controlling High-Level Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

By Clint Bailey | ‘Voice of EU’

The notion of artificial intelligence surpassing humanity has long been a topic of discussion, and recent advancements in programs have reignited concerns. But can we truly control super-intelligence? A closer examination by scientists reveals that the answer is highly unlikely.

Unraveling The Challenge:

Controlling a super-intelligence that surpasses human comprehension necessitates the ability to simulate and analyze its behavior. However, if we are unable to comprehend it, creating such a simulation becomes an impossible task. This lack of understanding hinders our ability to establish rules, such as “cause no harm to humans,” as we cannot anticipate the scenarios that an AI might generate.

The Complexity Of Super-Intelligence:

Super-intelligence presents a distinct challenge compared to conventional robot ethics. Its multifaceted nature allows it to mobilize diverse resources, potentially pursuing objectives that are incomprehensible and uncontrollable to humans. This fundamental disparity further complicates the task of governing and setting limits on super-intelligent systems.

Drawing Insights From The Halting Problem:

Alan Turing’s halting problem, introduced in 1936, provides insights into the limitations of predicting program outcomes. While we can determine halting behavior for specific programs, there is no universal method capable of evaluating every potential program ever written. In the realm of artificial super-intelligence, which could theoretically store all possible computer programs in its memory simultaneously, the challenge of containment intensifies.

The Uncontainable Dilemma:

When attempting to prevent super-intelligence from causing harm, the unpredictability of outcomes poses a significant challenge. Determining whether a program will reach a conclusion or continue indefinitely becomes mathematically impossible for all scenarios. This renders traditional containment algorithms unusable and raises concerns about the reliability of teaching AI ethics to prevent catastrophic consequences.

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The Limitation Conundrum:

An alternative approach suggested by some is to limit the capabilities of super-intelligence, such as restricting its access to certain parts of the internet or networks. However, this raises questions about the purpose of creating super-intelligence if its potential is artificially curtailed. The argument arises: if we do not intend to use it to tackle challenges beyond human capabilities, why create it in the first place?


Urgent Reflection – The Direction Of Artificial Intelligence:

As we push forward with artificial intelligence, we must confront the possibility of a super-intelligence beyond our control. Its incomprehensibility makes it difficult to discern its arrival, emphasizing the need for critical introspection regarding the path we are treading. Prominent figures in the tech industry, such as Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, have even called for a pause in AI experiments to evaluate safety and potential risks to society.

The potential consequences of controlling high-level artificial super-intelligence are far-reaching and demand meticulous consideration. As we strive for progress, we must strike a balance between pushing the boundaries of technology and ensuring responsible development. Only through thorough exploration and understanding can we ensure that AI systems benefit humanity while effectively managing their risks.

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By Clint Bailey, Team ‘THE VOICE OF EU

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