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Homechevron_rightBusinesschevron_rightTurks abandoning the...

Turks abandoning the useless Lira for cryptocurrency out of desperate need

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As the value of its currency, the Lira, plunged dramatically in January, Turkey's inflation hit 48.69 per cent. Desperate and helpless citizens have therefore turned to cryptocurrency.

There are reports that daily cryptocurrency trading exceeds 1 million, despite the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan having yet to come up with clear guidelines.

Despite the global attention being paid to digital assets, one of the advantages of cryptocurrencies for Turks is that it offers a means of skirting otherwise shrinking income levels.

As the Turkish lira has been roiled by routs that have seen its value fall by over 40% since last year alone, virtual currencies are seen as a potential store of value to safeguard savings, Al Jazeera reported.

In spite of Istanbul's reluctance to embrace cryptocurrencies, trading of these virtual currencies is allowed. The country's central bank also banned their use for payment of goods or services in April last year.

Analysts said there is apprehension about investments in crypto, but some are guessing the use of this virtual currency will be legalized. The problem, of course, is that no one wants to keep Turkish lira now...it's just a piece of paper."

Turkey is also reinvesting in gold and the US dollar amid a drastic fall in the lira's value.

People are protesting at various places as they struggle to purchase essential items such as bread. Many of them have no resources to buy these items, including food. "I can see people queuing up desperately to buy bread," said a woman.

Nevertheless, Erdogan is adamant about maintaining low-interest rates.

Sait Erdal Dincer, who was the head of the Turkish Statistic Institute TUIK was recently fired after data released by the state-owned company showed that the country's inflation rate hit 36.1 per cent last year, the highest level in 19 years.

Nureddin Nebati, Erdogan's yes-man, has vigorously defended Erdogan's low-interest rate policy even as inflation soared with his resignation on December 2.

During a televised address to the nation in December, Erdogan, defending his actions, claimed that Turkey had abandoned its monetary policy based on high-interest rates.

Erdogan has also rapidly undermined the independence of the Turkish Central Bank by replacing its governors in quick succession.

"Burying central bank governors or other senior policymakers regularly is the way the Turkish President has decided to combat a financial crisis... even a child can tell you that this will only make matters worse," the analyst added.

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