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The Turkish currency Lira has recently recorded a drastic fall in value against the US dollar, which was quickly comparable to Bitcoin. In the face of an economic crisis and a trade conflict with the US, the lira collapsed by 20 percent last week, a larger decline than Bitcoin. The Turks looked around for alternative payment methods while waiting for the lira to stabilise and cryptos were the leading option.

Turkish population prefers cryptos

Turkey’s relations with the USA have been strained for some time and the situation has not improved much in recent days. On 10th August President Trump announced that he had doubled tariffs on steel and aluminium from Turkey and that the lira had fallen further against the US dollar. The announcement only accelerated the downward spiral of the lira. Since the beginning of the year, the lira has fallen by over 45 percent.

As with other countries where FIAT currencies have led to uncertainty, Turks are turning to crypto currencies, mainly Bitcoin. According to Forbes, the country’s crypto exchanges have seen an increase in customers in recent days, as well as an increase in volume. Turkey’s largest crypto exchange is Koinim, which has seen a 63 percent increase since Trump made the announcement. Paribu and BTCTurk, the other two major exchanges in the country, also reported 100 percent and 35 percent increases respectively.

Turkey is joining Iraq to stabilise with cryptos, but with a marked difference. While the peer-to-peer trading led by LocalBitcoins has seen an upswing in Iraq, the centralised exchanges in Turkey have benefited. This is because the Turkish financial system continues to support crypto-trading and give them access to basic financial services. And since the trade and diplomatic dispute between the US and Turkey cannot be resolved so quickly, the stock exchanges could see even higher trading volumes in the coming months.

Recently, Turkish President Recep Erdogan encouraged Turks to convert every euro or dollar they had into lira to help transform the currency. He described the ongoing crisis as “a war of independence and the future” and expressed confidence that Turkey would win the diplomatic dispute with the US. In the meantime, however, Bitcoin and other cryptos are gaining more and more users who are not so convinced by the lira, nor do they believe it will get off the ground.

Turkey was a country with particularly controversial positions, not only on crypto currencies but also on other payment technologies. In 2016, the country hit the headlines after forcing PayPal to stop doing business because it did not comply with the regulations. The state’s banking regulator denied the California-based payment service provider its operating license and it came as no surprise that cryptos were the winners. As soon as PayPal had discontinued the service, crypto exchanges saw an increase as individuals and businesses searched for an alternative payment process.

Should Lira not recover soon, cryptos could prove to be a better form of money than the country’s FIAT currency.