Rallying around the $60,000 mark for over a week, on Friday, Bitcoin prices took a hit after Turkey’s central bank announced a ban on cryptocurrency usage.
The new legislation published in the “Official Gazette” prohibits using tokens based on the distributed ledger technology (DLT) for making payments.
Turkey’s top banking authority, the Central Bank reiterated that cryptocurrencies’ usage could be detrimental to the already struggling economy.
In a statement to the press, the banking regulatory authority said: “Their (cryptocurrencies) use in payments may cause non-recoverable losses for the parties to the transactions.”
The ban will come into effect from April 30. Following the announcement, Bitcoin prices dropped by at least 3%.
Bitcoin’s Popularity Concerns Turkish Authorities
The native Turkish Lira has been falling against the $USD as the current inflation rate (16.9%) is amongst the highest in recent years. With Lira’s devaluation, a majority of retail and institutional investors in Turkey have been vesting their trust in Bitcoins.
Data collected and studied by a US-based market research firm Chainalysis revealed that between the first week of February and until 24th March, the crypto trading volume in Turkey jumped from $7 billion to $24 billion.
The Opposition Slams The Move
The opposition leaders joined forces to condemn the arbitrary government decision. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the main opposition leader said it was “foolish” to ban cryptocurrencies. Taking a jibe on president Erdogan, he said that it was another case of midnight bullying.
Earlier, in March, Erdogan’s office had passed a decree at midnight firing the governor of the Turkish Central Bank.