While the central bank is busy banning crypto payments, people in Turkey have never searched for altcoin, crypto, and DeFi this much.
After tumbling to about $50k, the price of Bitcoin recovered to $57,600 but continues to struggle to recover strongly.
Many speculated that this crash could have been started by Turkey’s central bank banning the use of cryptos for purchases citing possible “irreparable” damage and transaction risks.
In the legislation that was published in the Official Gazette and goes into effect on April 30, the central bank said crypto-assets were “neither subject to any regulation and supervision mechanisms nor a central regulatory authority,” among other security risks.
Turkey’s main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu described this directive as another case of “midnight bullying,” referring to President Tayyip Erdogan firing the central bank governor last month in a midnight decree.
“It’s like they have to commit foolishness at night,” he said on Twitter.
Before making any such decisions, all stakeholders must be discussed, said Kilicdaroglu, adding that blockchain and crypto are the only areas where their $ 1 billion (Unicorn) ventures will emerge.
“They hit financial technology startups. They have no tolerance for young people,” he said.
A couple of weeks back, Turkish authorities had also demanded user information from crypto trading platforms.
“Any authority which starts regulating (the market) with a ban will end up frustrated (since this) encourages fintech startups to move abroad,” said economist Ugur Gurses.
Just last week, Royal Motors, which distributes Rolls-Royce and Lotus cars in Turkey, announced that they are accepting payment in cryptos.
The directive to ban crypto for payments came after cryptocurrencies gained popularity in the country in the aftermath of the Lira (TRY) hitting a fresh low against the USD last month.
This interest in Bitcoin has been strong since November last year, as per Google Trend, while for “crypto” and “altcoin,” it is the highest ever. Interestingly, the same is the case for “DeFi” and NFTs.
This makes sense given that NEO, XRP, USDT, and TRX are the most traded crypto assets on the largest crypto exchange in Turkey, BtcTurk, as per Coinmarketcap.
The boom of cryptos in the country has replaced the rush for gold and real estate as a hedge against the struggling lira and rising inflation, which reached a six-month high of 16%, and official unemployment rates hitting 13.4%.
Last month, BtcTurk recorded soaring volumes, with BTC-TRY up more than BTC-USD this year.
Even in the aftermath of the weekend sell-off, BTC is still up 112% YTD against TRY, and the all-time high was an uptrend of 140% this month while in USD terms is 93%, and $65k was 132% gains in 2021.
As of writing, Bitcoin is trading at $55,888 on BtcTurk and $55,125 on Coinbase Pro.
Between early Feb and late March, crypto trading volumes in Turkey hit 218 billion lira ($27 billion), up from just over 7 billion lira in the same period a year earlier.