Turkey is one of the countries that have massively adopted Bitcoin either for payments or investments. The Asian/European country has something in common with Venezuela, and that is a high adoption rate driven by inflation and devaluing national currency. Therefore, Turks account for the European country with the most cryptocurrency ownership, according to a recent ING survey.
18 Percent of Turks Own Cryptocurrency
Based on ING’s survey, 18% of Turks own or trade cryptocurrency which is significantly greater than 9% on the average. Other countries which came in the top are Romania (12%), Poland (11%), Spain (10%), Czech Republic (9%), Austria(8%), and Germany (8%). There’s also Italy, Netherlands (7%), United Kingdom (6%), and France (6%).
A co-owner of Bitcoin.org cryptocurrency exchange on August 13 tweeted:
There’s been a MASSIVE 42% increase in visitors to http://Bitcoin.org from Istanbul as the Turkish Lira plummets. This is how Bitcoin takes over the world, not through ETF’s and “HODL”, but through replacing fiat currencies as they fall apart!
One may wonder what brought about the high level of interest in Turkey, but the reason is not farfetched. The country’s inflation rate was reportedly up by almost 25 percent in September 2018, making it its highest in 15 years. Likewise, lira, Turkey’s national currency during last summer’s lira crisis devalued by 20 percent within 24 hours, on August 10.
Citizens Turn to Bitcoin Despite its Volatile Nature
As a result, citizens have turned to Bitcoin to hold their funds despite the volatile nature of the asset. Emin Gün Sirer, a Turkish-American professor, revealed that the tech-inclined nature of youths who make a larger part of the population has also attributed to the level of interest in these assets. These are people that are open-minded to new technologies and are attracted to financial schemes that have a high-profit margin.
The government, on the other hand, has not stated that it is illegal to trade or invest in virtual currencies. Nonetheless, it has sought ways to encourage people to invest less in cryptocurrency, but garner interest in converting to the lira. Diyanet, Turkey’s religious authority has also restricted Muslims from using and trading cryptocurrencies.
The latter was linked to the Turcoin, an alleged Ponzi scheme that did not go as planned. Its promoters had allegedly made attempts to cart away the millions which had been raised. As such, it only fueled the authority’s need to discourage people from such investments.
Venezuelans Also Turn to Bitcoin Due to High Inflation Rate
Asides from Turkey, Venezuela, a South American country is also facing a high inflation rate. Bolivars, the country’s fiat currency devalued at a rate of 1.7 million percent in 2018 alone. Claims have also been made that Venezuelan military personnel at the border are seizing people’s funds while trying to leave the country.
Thus, people have resorted to Bitcoin which has driven the Bitcoin trading volume on LocalBitcoins’ platform. The same can be said about Turkey which has recorded 37 percent growth in the Bitcoin trading volume on Turkish cryptocurrency exchanges.