04 Mar 2019 #Bitcoin
Turkey is one of the crypto-friendliest countries in Europe, and it massively adopted Bitcoin. The country's citizens can now invest in the largest cryptocurrency or use it for making payments, which makes it similar to Venezuela in terms of adoption rate. Both countries were almost forced to go crypto due to inflation, with Turkey's inflation rate was up by around 25% back in September 2018. This made it the highest in the last 15 years, as the country's national currency, lira, lost around 20% of its value in August 2018. As a result, the country turned to digital currencies, and it is currently the leader when it comes to crypto ownership in Europe.
According to a recent ING survey, up to 18% of Turkey's citizens are crypto owners. In other European countries, the average percentage is half that number, currently being around 9%. The second place belongs to Romania with 12% of citizens owning crypto, followed by Poland with 11%, Spain with 10%, the Czech Republic with 9%, Austria and Germany with 8%, while Italy and the Netherlands have around 7% of crypto users. Finally, the UK and France only have 6%, while the other countries have significantly fewer crypto users.
The growth of crypto popularity in Turkey has been a hot topic for a while, and back in August 2018, Bitcoin.org co-owner tweeted that the number of Istanbul-based users on the Bitcoin.org surged by 42% at the time.
While the interest in crypto surged due to inflation, this only shows that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have the potential to solve one of the largest financial problems in the world, which gives them a critical use case.
As of this moment, the larger part of Turkey's population is comprised of young people. As in most other parts of the world, youth tends to be more tech-inclined and open-minded when it comes to new technologies, particularly if these technologies can help them with financial difficulties. This has caused many to turn to Bitcoin, and the solution seemingly worked.
Meanwhile, the country's government remains silent, with no moves to proclaim crypto investments, trade, or use illegal. It did, however, made attempts to encourage people to invest less in cryptocurrencies, while still promoting the use of lira. But, while the government is seemingly neutral on the crypto issue, the country's religious authority, the Diyanet, is not.
Diyanet restricted Muslims from trading or using cryptocurrencies, particularly after the Turcoin incident. Turcoin was proclaimed to be a Ponzi scheme that attempted to scam investors out of millions. As a consequence, authorities have grown skeptical of crypto, although the younger users seemingly still believe in digital coins.
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