Cryptocurrency Is Not Regulated in Turkey, and It’s Thriving after lira collapsed
When news broke that Turkey’s President Recep Erdoğan had suddenly replaced the head of the nation’s central bank on March 19, Tilbe Yardım, 30, rushed to convert her Turkish lira into crypto.
“Turkish investors and people who understand finance are really angry and saddened about what happened on Friday night,” Yardım told CoinDesk.
The abrupt firing marked the third replacement of a central bank chief by Erdoğan since mid-2019, and signaled currency and institutional instability to investors. Erdoğan, who favors unorthodox monetary policies like slashing interest rates to curb inflation, allegedly fired the central bank head after he raised interest rates. Following Erdogan’s surprise move the lira, Turkey’s local currency, plunged 15% against the U.S. dollar on Monday, although it has recovered slightly since then.
Central bank instability tends to attract people to cryptocurrency. As the lira dropped on Monday, internet searches about cryptocurrencies spiked in Turkey, while searches for precious metal gold (Turkey’s go-to safe-haven asset) remained flat. In Turkey, where the crypto space is not regulated, its young tech-savvy population can buy and trade digital assets freely. Crypto exchanges do not need licenses to operate and there are currently no specific tax laws that apply to crypto.
But the uptick in crypto searches on Monday is the continuation of a much larger story. Turkish interest in crypto has been growing steadily for years, according to Ismail Hakki Polat, lecturer at the Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey, where he teaches a course on cryptocurrency and blockchain.
“From the very beginning of bitcoin, Turkish people have been eager for and interested in cryptocurrencies so it’s not a new thing like in Venezuela or Argentina,” Polat told CoinDesk, referring to countries that have more recently seen a dramatic growth in crypto use as a hedge against inflation.
In fact, local media reported that in the beginning of 2021, moving in tandem with the bitcoin price run, the two largest crypto exchanges in the country, Paribu and BtcTurk, were trading over $1 billion worth of crypto daily. By 3:12 p.m. local time on Wednesday, 11 popular crypto exchanges in the country recorded a combined 24-hour trading volume of more than $6 billion.
Source – Coindesk News