Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) appears to be more interesting than ever to Turkish citizens after local regulators recently banned crypto transactions.
What Happened: Google Trends data shows that Google searches for Bitcoin in Turkey skyrocketed after Turkey’s central bank on April 16 said it would ban the use of cryptocurrencies and crypto assets for purchases beginning April 30. The bank cited possible “irreparable” damage and transaction risks.
A few days after the news of the ban spread, local searches for Bitcoin skyrocketed, and this month's searches are now expected to overtake the all-time high registered in February.
The move may have served to make more local dissidents and activists aware of the cryptocurrency and how it is used. Bitcoin's rise has partly stemmed from its reputation as a means to sidestep government control, and Turkey has taken an authoritarian turn under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The country scored 4.48 out of 10 in The Economist's latest Democracy Index, published in February.
Why It Matters: Turkey's cryptocurrency markets have been under pressure this past week after two exchanges found themselves in the middle of controversy.
First, $2 billion worth of crypto assets became unavailable to traders after local platform Thodex suddenly ceased its activities, amid rumors that Thodex founder, Faruk Fatih Özer, had fled to Thailand with the money.
On Friday, Turkish news outlet Anadolu said 62 people had been detained in connection to the possible theft of funds.
Then on Friday, the Turkish Financial Crimes Investigation Board blocked the accounts of local crypto trading service Vedibitcoin after this platform suddenly ceased its activities as well.
Start mining bitcoin now
Start trading bitcoin now