Trading volume on Turkish cryptocurrency exchanges has soared over the last 24 hours as citizens have sought refuge from the weakened lira. Turkey’s national currency has faced a torrid time on a day when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the US of trying to
“stab it in the back”. Trade volume on domestic exchange Btcturk is up 350% in the last 24 hours, with BTC capturing 38% of the action.
Turks Seek a Haven from the Crumbling Lira
The Turkish lira (TRY) plunged to record lows against the US dollar today as tensions between the stricken nation and western counterparts ramped up. The embattled President Erdogan sees Turkey’s financial straits as a US-led plot to cripple the country, as opposed to the consequences of an imprudent economic policy that’s lead to rising inflation and spiraling debt accrued in foreign currency, exacerbated by borrowing to fund a construction boom.
While Turkey’s interior ministry has been threatening to take legal action against almost 350 social media accounts deemed to have made “provocative” comments against the lira, cryptocurrency holders have been busy exchanging their liras for BTC, XRP, and ETH. After Bitcoin core and the dollar-pegged Tether (USDT), Ripple and Ether formed the leading trading pairs at Btcturk over the last 24 hours; the site also offers LTC.
Turkish Lira is the Third Worst Performing Fiat Currency This Year
Only the Venezuelan bolivar and Sudanese pound have performed worse than the Turkish lira, which is down 45% this year. While BTC has lost close to 54% this year, it’s looked a veritable fortress of strength against TRY of late, and with limited options for swapping their lira into a more stable currency, Turkish citizens have flocked to Bitcoin. In addition to Btcturk, which has exchanged close to $14 million of BTC in the last 24 hours, regional exchanges Paribu, Koinim, and Koineks have witnessed a major increase in volume this week, as has Localbitcoins.com.
Amidst rumors of Turkish banks ending support for customer accounts holding USD, and President Erdogan desperate to quell the flight to the currency whose issuing nation he blames for the lira’s plight, citizens are left with few places to turn. (Tether is the closest most Turkish traders can get to the US dollar right now.) While predictions of ‘hyperbitcoinization’ in Turkey may be premature, it is evident that cryptocurrencies such as BTC are proving a lifeline in nations whose fiat currency is devaluing by the day.