BTCTurk, Turkey’s largest bitcoin exchange, has seen a significant increase in volume after Paypal announced that it would cease operations in the country.
After the news that the online payments giant would be leaving the country after it failed to get permits allowing it to operate there became public, bitcoin media and advocates immediately started to speculate if the news opened an opportunity for Bitcoin in Turkey.
The immediate effects are already becoming apparent. From May 28th to June 3rd, BTCTurk claims 4696 BTC, or roughly $2.7 million in total volume, according to BTCTurk’s Twitter page and API. That figure is higher than any previous week in 2016. The second highest figure for 2016 is April 2nd to April 8th, coming in at 4250.
News that Paypal was leaving the country became public on May 30th, so there were two days when the public was unaware of Paypal’s exit.
This is not the most volume the site has ever experienced. During the week of January 10th to the 16th 2015, BTCTurk had 6042.64 BTC total volume. That came as the bitcoin price dropped below $200, causing a global volume spike as panicked investors looked to sell.
Likewise, it is worth pointing out that with bitcoin’s recent price increase, there has been increased volume across all exchanges, not just BTCTurk. However, while sites like Bitfinex saw their highest volume days coincide with the Bitcoin price increase. BTCTurk saw its highest volume in the days of the week after the PayPal announcement. That suggest that there is some correlation between the news and the increase in volume.
We contacted BTCTurk to ask them for more details, but they were not available at press time. We will update this space if they get back to us.
Turkey’s Uneasy Relationship With Technology
This undoubtedly bodes well for Bitcoin in Turkey. More volume usually means more users, which will make the currency more resilient in a country that hasn’t always been favorable to new technologies. In 2014, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan infamously vowed to “wipe out” Twitter after the social media website was used to spread embarrassing leaks about the Turkish government. The country has also blocked YouTube from time to time, for similar reasons. Both sites were eventually allowed to operate in Turkey.
If the government ever attempts something similar with Bitcoin in Turkey, it could find it even more difficult. Banning bitcoin isn’t as simple as blocking a website, and unlike Paypal, there are no central servers that the Turkish government can demand be moved into the country, as it has with Paypal.
It will be very interesting to see how the Turkish government addresses Bitcoin, if at all.
We will continue to cover bitcoin in Turkey as news becomes available.