Lira Hoists Trading at Turkey Crypto Exchange
Trading volume on Turkey’s cryptocurrency exchange buoyed after the Turkish lira plummeted to an all-time low on economic woes.
Volume at Turkish bourses Btcturk, Koinim, and Paribu leaped by more than 100 percent over the last 24 hours. Btcturk and Paribu soared 130.92 percent and 107.93 percent, respectively. However, absolute volumes remain relatively small at these exchanges, with Btcturk, the country’s biggest crypto bourse, facilitating $11.6 million worth of trades.
This, after the lira hit a record low against the US dollar as as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s economic concerns, his worsening relationship with US President Donald Trump, and his government’s capacity to repay debts sparked global market worries.
During his public appearances, Erdogan stressed economic war with the United States and urged Turkish people to exchange any US dollars, euros, or gold in their possession to give a lift to the country’s fiat currency. He wants citizens to convert foreign investments into local currency.
Turkish lawmakers are considering the institution of a national cryptocurrency. But this may cause local crypto bourses to worry more if politicians become anxious of the bitcoin’s rise. Aside from Turkey, Iran is also looking at the likelihood of creating a centralized virtual currency to bolster its economy.
Turkish banks usually transact with exchanges, lowering the barriers for users to enter the global market. But in the case of Iran, retail investors oftentimes turn to in-person swaps and peer-to-peer exchanges such as LocalBitcoins because they are prohibited by international sanctions and local censorship to get into global platforms.
Uncertainties in Turkey have prodded investors to turn to digital currencies such as bitcoin despite the sector being in the bear market this year. “Every day there are new [bitcoin] exchanges coming up in Turkey,” a local university student who refused to reveal his identity but has a Twitter account (username: Bit_gossip).
“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,” according to Bitmov, a pseudonym for an affiliate marketing professional in Istanbul. He said he has been using bitcoin to purchase digital ads abroad for more than three years. His family and friends now ask him questions on how to buy bitcoin.
Like Bitmov, who has lost his confidence on fiat currencies, Bunyamin Yavuz, a cardiologist in Ankara, said he is now buying virtual currencies including XRP, monero, and lumens as part of his investment portfolio. Currently, his holdings comprise of cryptocurrencies (30 percent), US dollars (20 percent), and lira (10 percent).
“Most Turkish crypto traders (hodlers actually) started in late 2017, or the first quarter of 2018, and they got rekt,” Bit_gossip, who is operating crypto Discord channel since 2016 which has expanded its presence to 11,294 Turkish-speaking members, explained. He said bitcoin purchases would be even brisker if not for the fear of scams and volatility.
There are rumors that Turkish banks may soon end support for customers with savings in US dollars. “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 soon,” Bitmov said.
Also, the government may follow suit in restricting access if bitcoin exchanges grow too swiftly. But Yavuz said “it will be the end of our economic growth” should that happen.