Turkey Looking to Launch National Cryptocurrency
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Tukey and its de facto partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), are reportedly looking to develop a national cryptocurrency.
So far the Turkish government had taken an unwelcoming stance toward the most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Ministers pointed out its similarities to a pyramid scheme and warned citizens to not get involved with such things.
The MHP, however, thinks that cryptocurrencies should not be dismissed and that Ankara should prepare regulations to control the market. MHP deputy chair and former Industry Minister Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu has drafted a report proposing the state-controlled release of a national cryptocurrency dubbed “Turkcoin.”
Though the technical specifics remain unclear, the lawmaker proposed the development of a state-controlled bitcoin bourse., which he argued would yield lower risks than existing cryptocurrencies.
“Preventing tax evasion, money laundering and swindling should be given priority in the work for new regulations,” read the report. “The introduction of encouraging regulations after assessing all kinds of risks would enable us to generate revenues from the cryptocurrency market, especially from bitcoin. In this context, the country needs a bitcoin bourse and legislation to regulate this realm.”
The report said such asset basket would include large public companies in the country’s wealth fund such as Turkish Airlines, the Istanbul Stock Exchange the gas company Botas, Turk Telekom, Ziraat Bank and the National Lottery would be acting in a way as its “insurance policy.” Investments in the currency would be estimated to be as much as those in the companies in the Wealth Fund, but high demand would result in higher appreciation.
The MHP believes that it would be a big mistake to overlook the possibilities blockchain technology has to offer. “The world is advancing toward a new digital system. Turkey should create its own digital system and currency before it’s too late,” Tanrikulu told Al-Monitor.
The Finance Ministry and the Capital Markets Board have already began working on the legal aspects that will result in new regulations. Tanrikulu said his party would lend parliamentary support to bills which are intended for regulating and taxing cryptocurrencies.
In the report, the lawmaker stressed that a clearer regulation on cryptocurrency is needed to control the market. He argues that the lack of legal framework over cryptocurrency in Turkey could lead to illicit use. “The need for regulation is obvious,” he said. “Also, the use of those currencies in illegal activities must be prevented.”
He goes on to say that: “We need to create the infrastructure for the blockchain database. There are nearly 1,400 digital currencies in the world today and many countries are using them. We, too, can create a digital currency, based on companies in the Wealth Fund. Since the demand exists, we should create and release our own digital currency. Opposing those currencies is meaningless. This is a national issue which requires a national consensus.”
Though the government maintains its attitude toward bitcoin and other digital currencies, the idea for a national cryptocurrency seems to have a better chance of being accepted. In a Feb. 7 interview with CNN Turkey, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, who oversees the economy, said that the government is amid preparations for a national digital currency. He argued that while the use of cryptocurrencies remains illegal and risky in Turkey at present, they “are planning to start our own work on digital currencies. We place high importance on digitalization.”
Turkey’s potential consideration of a state-backed cryptocurrency comes just days after Venezuela has launched the country’s own token sale, through which its President Nicolas Maduro claimed the nation raised $735 million so far.