Trade wars, sanctions, fear from private and decentralized cryptocurrencies. Regardless of the motive, a number of governments have recently taken the path of creating their own digital money. Turkey has become the latest country to announce plans for the issue of a “blockchain-based” national currency.
Digital Lira to Be Tested as Ankara Builds Fintech Ecosystem
The project to develop a digital lira has found a place in Recep Erdogan’s Annual Presidential Program, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. According to the recently published document, Turkey is set to launch the coin as soon as it completes the design, development and testing phases. The program explicitly notes that a “blockchain-based digital currency” will be introduced.
Tests with the Turkish crypto are expected to commence as early as 2020 but the leadership in Ankara doesn’t stop there. The wider plan is to adopt a roadmap for the development of а full-fledged fintech ecosystem in the country. As part of these efforts, the presidential program envisages the establishment of a “financial technopark” in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and economic capital.
The digital lira initiative comes at a time when Turkey is facing mounting economic and financial challenges. Soured relations with the U.S. over Ankara’s rapprochement with Moscow and other independent moves by Erdogan’s administration have even led to a threat from President Trump to “totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey.”
Over the past few years Turkey was also struggling with high inflation of the paper lira, which has greatly increased the popularity of decentralized cryptocurrencies in the country. A fifth of the Turkish respondents in a study conducted this year stated they owned digital coins.