Why is Istanbul the best place to host Devcon VII? Convince us
Capital to major empires for thousands of years, and a city dividing the continents of Asia and Europe, Istanbul has been a melting pot of, and the bridge between, the West and East, and where history meets modernity. The city and its history also has a place in the blockchain nomenclature because of the Byzantine Generals Problem, and an EVM version is named after it.
Türkiye has one of the highest crypto adoption rates in the world, with +70% inflation and a rapidly devaluing local currency. The young and thriving population has a positive attitude towards crypto, and is curious about it. There are tens of university blockchain clubs that are active and the driving force of the local crypto community.
Istanbul is an exotic city that everyone wants to spend a couple days in per year. It is extremely well connected with all continents and perfectly located. It is also a main attraction for the populations around the MENA region, where no big conferences or events have been held so far, as well as the Balkans, and recently for people from Ukraine and Russia.
The city has several large conference halls that are centrally located, numerous hotels, and historical venues that would be suitable for side events during the week.
1. What are the visa restrictions for the country?
Citizens of many countries enjoy visa exemption for Türkiye
e-Visa for other countries that easy to apply and is affordable
2. How easy is the international access?
Istanbul has two airports; the biggest one is Istanbul Airport (IST) on the European side. The smaller one is Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) on the Asian side. Both airports are available for international flights.
There are 66 airlines flying to Istanbul from 300 airports, and 117 countries directly around the world, as of June 2022.
There are roughly 17,732 flights arriving at Istanbul every month (or 4,137 flights each week), from a total of 300 airports worldwide.
3. What about the safety and political stability of the region?
Istanbul is overall much safer than most of the large metropoles such as Paris, London, or Rome; and especially safe if you avoid slums. You would have no reason go to these areas. Being alone in deserted areas late at night, nevertheless, should be avoided. The only common issue you’ll hear about is being ripped off by taxis, for which there are several ways to avoid.
A common question asked is if Istanbul is safe for women and if wearing shorts etc. is acceptable. It is safe and dresses are completely fine. People wears whatever they want to wear casually. Still, avoiding walking alone after dark in back streets is recommended.
The country experienced the most turbulent political atmosphere during the 2016 failed coup attempt. Since then its stability has improved and still remains relatively stable considering the events in the region and within its neighbors. Free elections are being held with the opposition gaining major municipalities in 2019. Government elections are scheduled for June 2023.
Political risk map:
4. How expensive are venue rentals, accommodation, food, and transport?
Compared to other metropolitans worldwide, Istanbul is relatively cheaper.
- Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant : 4.03 $
- Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course : 17.31 $
- Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) : 0.58 $
- Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) : 0.40 $
- Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center (Month) : 403.51 $
Venue Rent for the Istanbul Congress Center
- Auditorium + 4 Meeting Halls for ~ 5600 pax ~29.000 EUR+VAT / Day
- 65 Workshop rooms ~ 20m2 - > 100m2 ~18.000 EUR+VAT / Day
More details are available upon request.
5. What is the climate during Q3/Q4?
The climate of the city is fairly pleasant overall, during September and October especially.
- September : 17 - 25°C - (63 - 77°F)
- October : 13 - 20°C - (56 - 67°F)
- November : 9 - 14°C - (49 - 58°F)
- December : 6 - 11°C - (43 - 51°F)
Precipitation (Rain only, avg. days in month)
- September : 4.4d
- October : 6.5d
- November : 7.9d
- December : 9.1d
1. How easy is the transportation in the city (between venues, airport, etc.)?
- Istanbul is not a very walkable city, but the neighborhood of the venue definitely is.
- Main attractions are well connected with subway, tram, bus, and ferries.
- Taxis are cheap, using apps (Uber, BiTaksi) is recommended to avoid scams.
- There are buses and metro connections to the proposed venue.
- Both airports have connection with public and private transportation (bus, taxi)
Private buses provide direct transportation from both airports to nearby the venue (To Taksim Square)
2. Are there modern venues (WiFi/Maneuverability/Catering)?
3. Are there venues with the capacity to host between 5-10k+ people?
Istanbul Congress Center - http://www.iccistanbul.com/
- Built to host 2009 IMF and World Bank Group Annual Meeting
- 8 floor and 120.000m2
- Auditorium with 3705 seats
- 9 main meeting halls
- 64 workshop rooms
- 9.609m2 open terrace area
- 14.576m2 exhibition center
- Auditorium + 4 Meeting Halls for ~ 5600 pax is based on just 1 floor.
4. What are attractions in or around the city, and how close are they to the venue?
- No need to mention Bosphorus. Just sit on a bench and listen to the seagulls while watching the view.
- Istanbul served as a capital for almost 1600 years starting from the Byzantine to Ottoman Empire. In Istanbul, you can discover the history layer by layer all around the city. Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, Galata Tower, Taksim Square, The Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Maiden’s Tower are just some of them. Historical buildings and modern parts of the city live together.
- In the center of Istanbul, there are some big parks to walk, run, picnic, etc. Belgrad Forest, Yıldız Park, and Gülhane Park are the best options to chill and rest in silence.
- By getting a ferry, you can visit composite islands in the Marmara Sea like Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada…
- Istanbul is a heaven for gourmets and street food lovers.
- Traditional Foods: You can find amazing Anatolian dishes, kebaps, and deserts all around the city without searching.
- Street Foods: Chestnuts, stuffed mussels, fish and bread, döner, and stuffed meatballs are just some parts of the spectacular street food culture of Istanbul.
- Seafood is a big part of the local dining culture.
- Kadıköy, and Moda District in the Asian side, and Cihangir district, Beyoğlu, Beşiktaş, and Arnavutköy in the European side have top bars filled with vibrant young people and expats.
- There are night clubs next to Bosphorus in Ortaköy and Bebek, beach clubs in the Black Sea coast, and larger venues.
Mini map of some attractions in Istanbul: Google Maps
1. How does the Ethereum community look like in this region (e.g.: existing large community/ small but growing rapidly, etc.)?
- Flourishing university associations in the last couple of years, organizing networking events, Solidity courses, and winning hackathons.
- Government research council also has a working group and holds hackathons.
- Many Turkish founders exist within the space, although mostly based abroad.
- Crypto usage and awareness is really high.
2. What is the potential of Ethereum to have an impact in that region?
- The country scores low in overall Internet Freedom and Freedom of Speech. Crypto can serve the means for the population to escape censorship.
- Privacy and information security awareness is low in the country, this could be one aspect the Ethereum ecosystem can help change.
- Crypto has already been a way to escape the country’s high inflation and depreciating currency for the population.
- The city is home to tens of universities including country’s best. There are many talented engineer candidates in the country, who are looking for guidance for their career, many of them are interested in the blockchain topic in general.
- Recently, the acquisition of a unicorn gaming company paved the way for a flourishing gaming industry and Istanbul became a mobile game development center. Similar to what happened in the gaming industry, we believe Devcon can be a great spark to funnel the existing high percentage of the crypto-user population to the technical side of things and not just trading.
3. How is hosting Devcon in that city benefiting the Ethereum ecosystem?
- Istanbul is a “center of gravity” in the Balkans and MENA region. No major Ethereum event has taken place around the region yet.
- Bringing the Ethereum’s main event would attract the younger population and students to the ecosystem and can unlock a huge talent pool.
- Bringing the event to MENA and Balkans will also attract talent from the region.
- Istanbul is a top ten visited city and a main tourist attraction. Many potential attendees would want to visit Istanbul once.
Every location has its pros and cons. It’s important to also consider the potential downsides.
What are possible risks?
Political instability with incoming elections.
What could be the downsides?
Transportation in rush hours can get stressful. City is not bikeable.
- Istanbul is the capital of cats. They will enjoy with their new hooman frens.
- Did we mention Turkish food?