With the Turkish lira (TRY) faltering, Turkey's citizens have been fast to adopt cryptocurrencies. That's now becoming easier to do.
As of today, residents of Turkey can now use the lira to buy cryptocurrency directly on the Blockchain.com Exchange. Initially, they'll be able to convert lira to Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Tether without needing to use a third-party payment processor.
There's definitely a market for Turks looking to diversify away from the lira. The last decade has brought mostly bad news for Turkey economically, and even the bright spots are a dark gray. After cruising to a 25% inflation rate in 2018 and languishing in a recession during the first quarter of 2019, Turkey managed to halve its 2019 inflation to just under 12%.
Though that's far less than what consumers encounter in Zimbabwe or Venezuela, it's the highest rate in Europe. And while the lira has held steady of late, it's worth only 20% of its 2008 value against the dollar.
Things aren't getting any easier for the country. The country's been hit by US sanctions for its role in Syria, which were lifted in October. The US Senate urged President Trump in December to sanction the country yet again, a NATO member, for purchasing Russian defense systems. NATO exists primarily to guard against possible Russian aggression.
Just today, Reuters reported that HSBC, which has already reduced the number of its Turkey branches from 315 in 2013 to 80 this year, was looking to sell its banking business in the country entirely due, in part, to lira volatility.
With the lira losing favor, cryptocurrency optimists have seen Turkey as a potential playground for their preferred coins. That's mostly come to pass. Twenty percent of Turkish citizens own or use cryptocurrency, according to Statista, giving Turkey the highest crypto adoption rate in the world.
Blockchain.com isn't the first exchange to support the lira—Binance and OKEx are already there, for example. But Blockchain.com CEO Peter Smith took a swipe at other providers in a press release today, stating that Turkey's "traders have only been met with high fees and poor service."
Though Smith didn't provide specifics on fees, he continued, "Blockchain.com is dedicated to providing a fair, global market for Turkey's crypto traders."