The overall crypto industry has been going through a rough patch. Crypto prices have plunged anywhere between 65% to near 100% in some cases. Crypto based companies have either shut shop in the current raging bear market or resorting to mass layoffs to cut costs in an attempt to keep the company alive. To make things worse, cryptos – especially the grandfather of cryptos – Bitcoin isn’t really working out to be an inflationary hedge as it was once envisioned to be – and has lost more than double in percentage terms than the US stock market and its tech focused, NASDAQ index.
However, underlying things have been changing in the world of crypto. While these tokens aren’t giving as magnificent returns as it was exactly a year ago – things are changing for the better. Let’s take the example of Turkey, according to a news report by CoinDesk. According to the reporter, who indulged in conversations with nearly two dozen people in the Turkish crypto community, she caught a glimpse of a world in which crypto is not a game, but a necessity.
Crypto is not a game, but a necessity
The crypto fever is very palpable in the city of Istanbul, so much so that you can find small businesses around Grand Bazaar where you can simply walk in and exchange cash for Bitcoin (BTC) or Tether stablecoin (USDT). Apart from that, crypto advertisements are abound in the city, right from airports to streetside hoardings.
According to the report, there are at least 8 million people in Turkey engaged in crypto, according to an estimate in a 2022 research report by the Turkish crypto exchange Paribu, one of the largest crypto exchanges in Turkey. Just last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke at length about the benefits of blockchain technology while saying Turkey wanted to be a producer, not a consumer, in the digital assets world.
Down, but not out
Turkey’s crypto exchanges have suffered in this recent crypto downturn too. Paribu’s 2022 research reports the exchange’s daily trade volume at $145 million, down from $850 million in 2021. But despite all that, local enthusiasm regarding this novel technology remains strong, especially with the Turkey’s crypto community awaiting Devcon, Ethereum’s biggest developer event which is slated to be held in Istanbul this year.
“Crypto is basically a savior for many individuals here both from a financial perspective, and also from a mental perspective,” said Vidal Arditi, the Istanbul-based founder of Layka DAO and Lunapark Web3 Hub.
This comes amid reports of economic woes that the country has been facing for quite some time now. As of late, its own national currency – the Lira has suffered a deep devaluation in the post-Covid world amid economic tightening policies and the shrinking of the global economy at large.
According to latest data, Turkey’s inflation rate recently surpassed 83%, touching a 24-year high, though researchers estimate the real inflation rates could be much higher than these numbers. The Turkish Lira also reached a record low against the U.S. dollar amid the government’s peculiarly unorthodox policy of cutting interest rates.
And this rising inflation has been very clearly evident – prices of things have been skyrocketing as simple things like rent tends to jump five times within a span of a year.
“Many don’t believe in the power of the Turkish lira, so they are looking for investment opportunities to keep the value of their money,” said Çağla Gül Şenkardeş, founder of Istanbul Blockchain Women.
Read more: Bitcoin Price Prediction