Starting from 30 April, the use of cryptocurrencies as a form of payment will be banned in Turkey. In a statement written on its website, the Turkish central bank mentioned that de decision was due to a lack of regulation, supervision mechanisms, or central regulatory authority, combined with the potential for criminal activity and the high volatility of their market value, which translates that they view digital tokens and the level of anonymity behind them as bearers of “significant risks,” “non-recoverable” losses included.
Cryptocurrency “global concerns” lead Turkey down this path
The news comes after last month’s statement from the Treasury and Finance Ministry expressing “global concern” over cryptocurrency and its evolution. Not at all surprising since this year Bitcoin has surged 111% to trade above $60.000, while the second-largest cryptocurrency, Ethereum, has jumped 225%.
But while Turkey and also the President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, believe that cryptocurrency enables criminal activity, not everyone mirrors their thoughts and agrees with such a decision. The leader of Turkey’s main opposition the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, took to Twitter to criticize the government decision, which was taken without discussing the ban with all cryptocurrency participants.
The world’s fourth Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange platform fights back
Ozgur Guneri, CEO of BtcTurk, the first exchange of its kind in Turkey and the world’s fourth Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange platform, also believes that the regulation should have been “communicated in a better way given the level of disinformation,” and surmises that the ban “mainly targets electronic payment systems.”
According to a decree published in the official government gazette, the ban also prohibits all companies handling payments and electronic fund transfers from processing transactions involving any cryptocurrency platform.
China feels the same way
Turkey is not the only country thinking to apply such bans. In 2017 China issued a similar ban on cryptocurrency trading and according to an unidentified senior government official, India is also planning to propose a law that bans cryptocurrencies and fines anyone trading or holding such assets. The bill would then be one of the world’s strictest policies against cryptocurrencies and criminalize everything from possession, issuance, mining, trading, and transferring crypto-assets.