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Turkey sees spike in Bitcoin trading

Turkey and Iran face US sanctions that have sent their official currencies spiralling downward and forcing locals to turn to cryptocurrency for financial protection

All crypto exchanges in Turkey have seen a surge in their Bitcoin trading volume as locals face an economic crisis led by a plunge in the value of the national fiat currency.

The Turkish currency lira fell 10% in one day on Monday to a record low of 7.23 to the dollar. On Tuesday, it recovered 6% and was trading at around 6.53 to the dollar.

However, in the same period, Turkey’s largest crypto exchange, Koinin, reported an increase of 63% in its Bitcoin (BTC) trading volume. Paribu, another Turkish cryptocurrency platform, saw its BTC trading volume increase by 100% in the last 24 hours.

Experts believe the Turkish government, which for the time being has an open policy towards crypto exchanges, may decide to ban cryptocurrency exchanges to avoid further capital to exit the country.

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However, in the meantime, banks in Turkey are free to carry out cryptocurrency transactions legally, and people can also legally hedge their finances against the fall of the lira by using crypto exchanges across the country.

Turkey is facing a crisis because of tensions in its relations with the United States, as both countries argue over tariffs imposed by Washington on Turkish steel and aluminium. Last week, President Donald Trump also announced sanctions against Turkey over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. The government in Ankara has charged Brunson with espionage and involvement the country’s failed 2016 coup.

Crypto trading surges in Iran too

In Iran, people have also turned to cryptocurrencies in the face of a national financial crisis brought on by US sanctions. In light of economic tensions with the US, Iran’s Stock Exchange Organisation CEO Shapour Mohammadi announced that the exchange is preparing itself to accept cryptocurrencies. He called on other exchanges to do the same.

Last week, information surfaced indicating the Central Bank of Iran met with other government officials under instructions from the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to analyse the creation of a government cryptocurrency. ICT Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahrom told Iranian news outlet Press TV that Iran had reversed its adverse opinion of cryptocurrency.

READ MORE: Indian government preps crypto regulatory framework

“A new attitude that has been created in the government is that the digital money does not necessarily pose a security threat and can create opportunities for the country,” he said.

Local news outlets say the Post Bank of Iran is also leading the development of the national cryptocurrency in light of the massive plunge of the local currency rial, which is trading at about one US dollar to 48,900.

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