On Friday, the Turkish central bank introduced a ban on performing payments with cryptocurrencies, citing several concerns such as their possible use for illegal activities. The ban will go into effect on April 30th.
The Turkish lira has hit record lows in purchasing power over the past months, putting pressure on Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan. To avoid further capital flight out of the native currency, the central bank passed the new law, called "Regulation on the Disuse of Crypto Assets in Payments," which prohibits citizens from making payments using bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Although the main concerns mentioned in the press release were addressed to the potential of cryptocurrencies to enable illegal activities, "irrevocable transactions" and "excessively volatile" market values, many believe that the restrictions were imposed to slow down adoption in order to protect the dwindling lira. Some even see this as thwarting a flourishing industry.
"I met with different stakeholders all day. Blockchain and crypto are the only areas where our $1 billion (Unicorn) ventures will emerge,” Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu, leader of Turkey’s largest opposition party, said on Twitter.
While the ban initially raised many questions, it has become clear that holding and buying cryptocurrencies is not affected by the new bill. This is good news for Bitcoin holders trying to protect their wealth and avoid exposure to the inflating lira.
Not too long ago, Erdogan came up with a similar idea and called on the public to exchange their gold and foreign exchange holdings for the national currency, in what was widely perceived as a desperate attempt to prevent economic turmoils.