Turkey will finish testing a digital version of the Turkish lira by the end of 2020. Testing will commence next year as well. The central bank digital currency is part of the presidential program for 2020. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan communicated these plans on Monday.
The central bank digital currency is part of the governments plans to strengthen the local economy. In addition the government of Turkey will develop a software platform for instant payments using the digital lira. They will work together with the central bank, while the project will also involve the national innovation agency TUBITAK.
The inclusion of a central bank digital currency in the 2020 Annual Presidential Program of Turkey is the result of a blockchain-focused economic road map. Besides a digital lira the country is implementing blockchain technology in the transport sector and customs as well as in public services and government administration.
Strengthening Turkey’s economy is of high importance to Erdogan and the government. The country has seen its national currency lose 60 percent of value compared with ten years ago. During the summer of 2018 the lira lost lots of its value due to economic sanctions by the United States. As a result Erdogan’s AK Parti has lost the regional elections in June, while national elections are planned to happen before June 18th 2023.
Turkey very focused on crypto
Blockchain innovation doesn’t only happen within the Turkish government. Turkish businesses, banks and its people are interested in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. According to research at least 20 percent of the Turks currently own or used to own one or more cryptocurrencies.
Turkey’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange BTC Turk is currently the shirt sponsor of Super Lig football club Yeni Malatyaspor. This news came out right before Watford FC announced they would be wearing the Bitcoin logo on its sleeve.
In addition several Turkish banks are working together on a blockchain-powered trading platform for gold. Two weeks ago Huobi announced it would introduce a fiat gateway for Turkish investors on the Turkey’s version of its crypto exchange. In a couple of weeks Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao will speak at a conference in Istanbul. The Turkish Capital Markets Summit 2019 takes place on November 19th and 20th.
Also published on Medium.