Turkey Proposes State Cryptocurrency 'Turkcoin' After Iran, Venezuela

Turkey Crypto 022318

Turkey is also planning to launch a state-backed cryptocurrency to be named "Turkcoin" as several central banks make moves to launch a state-backed digital currency, according to a report by the Al-Monitor news agency.

The report said Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu, Deputy Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and former Industry minister, has drafted a detailed proposal for a state-controlled release of a "national bitcoin" called "Turkcoin." The MHP is an alliance partner of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In the proposal, Tanrikulu provides for a state cryptocurrency in the form of "asset-backed security", which is secured by state assets in the form of company shares of Turkish Airlines, the Istanbul Stock Exchange, Turk Telekom etc.

Tanrikulu insists that missing out on blockchain, the underlying technology of bitcoin, would be a serious mistake. "The world is advancing toward a new digital system. Turkey should create its own digital system and currency before it's too late," he told Al-Monitor.

The proposal comes a few weeks after Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said during an interview with CNN Turkey that his government would seek to launch a national cryptocurrency. He added that the use of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin remains illegal and risky in Turkey at present.

The Turkish government has been unwelcoming towards cryptocurrencies and has likened it to a pyramid scheme and warned citizens to stay away. However, Tanrikulu argues that instead of dismissing cryptocurrencies, they should draw up legislation to regulate and control the market.

Turkey's proposal for a state-backed cryptocurrency comes close on the heels of Iran also announcing similar plans as well as Venezuela launching its oil-backed cryptocurrency named Petro earlier in the week.

However, unlike Turkey, both Iran and Venezuela are targets of U.S. financial and economic sanctions. The launch of the cryptocurrency by these two countries is seen as a plan to ease the country's economic crisis, and circumvent U.S.-led sanctions.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro claimed its cryptocurrency Petro evoked overwhelming response on the first day on Tuesday and $735 million was raised within 20 hours of the pre-sale.

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