Turkey's Deputy Minister of Treasury and Finance Sakir Ercan Gül is set to present a draft bill to parliament providing a regulatory framework for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies later this year.
Besides setting clear licensing requirements for local exchanges and introducing minimum capital requirements for cryptocurrency companies, the draft bill will also propose a withholding tax for individual earners, Turkish publication Sabah reports.
The developments follow recent regulatory steps taken in the country that involved cryptocurrency payments. Although widely reported as a blanket ban on payments for goods and services in cryptocurrencies, the move actually only involved payments companies, Emre Aksoy, a popular Turkish YouTuber and strategic advisor to Turkish government bodies on crypto adoption and regulation, told the BTC Times:
"There wasn't an actual ban on crypto payments in Turkey. [...] The truth is that the central bank in Turkey issued regulations for electronic payments companies only, preventing them from settling payments in crypto. As citizens, we are still able to transact in crypto, and the local exchanges are operating as usual. It was just a mild law to set boundaries between fintech and crypto companies for future regulations."
With Turkey's Deputy Finance Minister announcing the finished draft bill, Turkish cryptocurrency users "can easily anticipate what's to come next," according to Aksoy. In fact, Gül stressed that "the ones that ban are generally countries with democracy problems." Turkey, on the other hand, is looking to provide clear regulation for the country's cryptocurrency businesses and users that is somewhat similar to regulatory frameworks seen in Europe and America.
The draft bill notably comes after a high-profile probe into Turkish exchange Thodex, whose users claimed in April the exchange had defrauded them of millions of dollars after shutting down for several days due to what it said was maintenance work. After multiple arrests, the exchange's CEO appears to remain at large; he is believed to have transferred funds worth $108 million to unknown accounts, according to the Turkish Interior Ministry. Stricter licensing requirements and regulatory steps could be seen as an attempt to prevent similar scenarios in the future.
On a higher level, the new bill, if passed in parliament, will likely "strengthen the crypto ecosystem in Turkey" as it will clear the way for regulated paths to access Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Aksoy said. A set framework could boost confidence in the Turkish ecosystem for businesses considering to operate in the country.
The draft bill is set to be submitted to Parliament in October.