central bank of the republic of Turkey
Building of the central bank of the republic of Turkey in Galata district, Istanbul, Turkey, 16 December 2015. Shutterstock

Cryptocurrency holders in Turkey are now prohibited from using their digital assets as a form of payment for goods and services in the country, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) announced on 16 April.

According to the press release, on Friday the CBRT introduced the “Regulation on the Disuse of Crypto Assets in Payments”, which will effectively ban the use of crypto for payments in the country. The new regulation — which is set to come into effect on 30 April — will also prevent payment services form providing fiat on ramps to crypto exchanges in the country. The CBRT’s notice reads:

“Payment service providers cannot develop business models in a way that crypto assets are used directly or indirectly in the provision of payment services and electronic money issuance, and cannot provide any services related to such business models.”

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While exchanges will no longer be able to receive services from payment providers, users will still be able to deposit fiat to exchanges using their bank accounts, as banks are excluded from the new regulation. The CBRT gave several reasons behind the ban, ranging from the government’s inability to monitor and control digital assets, to the excessive market volatility of crypto and their use in illegal activities.

Crypto trading in Turkey has been booming for the past months, mostly because of the issues that are plaguing the Turkish lira. The currency has faced significant outside selling pressure, especially after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired the head of the central bank Naci Agbal back in March. At the time the lira fell by 15% — nearing an all-time low — and was traded for 8.39 per U.S. dollar, which forced many to turn to crypto as an alternative method of payment.

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