Cryptocurrency trading surged in Turkey on Friday with the news that the country’s struggling fiat currency lira plunged in value on the money markets.
More concerns about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s economic policies and Turkey’s debt level sent the lira spiralling as global markets reflected their concerns about the state of that country’s economy. This was good news however for cryptocurrency as trading volumes at three of Turkey’s main crypto exchanges Paribu, Btcturk and Koinim witnessed a jump of 100% in just 24 hrs.
Turkey has experienced a bear market this year but terms of its relationship with Bitcoin and other cryptos, it’s been very upbeat, as one local university student observed on the weekend, “Every day there are new [bitcoin] exchanges coming up in Turkey.”
User Bitmov, an Instanbul marketing professional has been using bitcoin for over year to make overseas purchases and has now become his families crypto advisor. He commented:
“I started personally trading crypto 1.5 years ago because of the weakness of the Turkish lira, and fear of the political, and financial, status of the Turkish government. Cryptocurrency makes me feel much safer…If your national currency is falling like this … or you don’t trust centralized currencies and banks, what can you do? You should be your own bank, and I’m sure people all around the world will realize that.”
This attitude is frequently reflected in other countries where unstable currencies are driving nationals towards a more stable kind of currency, such as in Venezuela and parts of Africa. Another such cryptocurrency user is Cardiologist from the capital Ankara, Bunyamin Yavuz who says he’s completely lost his trust of banks and now buys crypto such as XRP, Monero, and Stellar lumens. Yavuz only holds 10 percent of his currency in Lira, but 30 percent in cryptocurrencies.
There have been talks of a national cryptocurrency in Turkey for some time, following in the footsteps of the Venezuelan Petro, but this could hurt local exchanges if Bitcoin continues to become stronger and positions itself as an alternative.
Iran has gone the same way, although looking at a government-run crypto. But their current crypto trading position is different due to the use peer to peer transactions, overseas sanctions, and local government restrictions. Greater freedom exists in Turkey for those who wish to trade in Bitcoin. Concerns are growing though that the Turkish government may begin to take a harder line on cryptocurrency trading similar to that of its middle eastern neighbor.
The fall in the lira may be the first of many, given Erdoğan’s threats of an “economic war “ with the US. Although he has appealed for his country’s support for the currency, asking Turkish nationals to buy up the ailing lira for any other currency they own. It’s unlikely to be Bitcoin.
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