Turkey should develop a blockchain infrastructure, launch its own “national bitcoin” – Turkcoin, regulate and set up a state-controlled cryptocurrency exchange, said former industry minister Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu in a report, quoted by Al-Monitor. Tanrikulu is also the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) a de facto partner of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“We need to create the infrastructure for the blockchain database. There are nearly 1,400 digital currencies in the world today and many countries are using them. We, too, can create a digital currency, based on companies in the Wealth Fund. Since the demand exists, we should create and release our own digital currency. Opposing those currencies is meaningless. This is a national issue which requires a national consensus,” Tanrikulu told Al-Monitor.
According to the proposal, the Turkcoin would be backed by large public assets in the Wealth Fund, such as Turkish Airlines, the Istanbul Stock Exchange, the gas company Botas, Turk Telekom, Ziraat Bank and the National Lottery and they would serve as “an insurance”. The value of the cryptocurrency would also appreciate or depreciate at least as much as those in the companies in the Wealth Fund and the Turkcoin would resemble asset-backed securities rather than existing cryptocurrencies.
In his 22-page report, Tanrikulu notes that cryptocurrencies are already being used in Turkey, despite the lack of legal framework. The mining, trading and paying with cryptocurrencies, however, is not specifically illegal. “Many enterprises accept payment in cryptocurrencies, and the number of customers using those currencies is rapidly increasing,” the report said.
The politician also told Al-Monitor that missing out on blockchain 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 said.
According to him, the need for a legal framework and regulation is obvious and the use of cryptocurrencies for illegal activities must be prevented.
Tanrikulu’s report also proposes the creation of a state-controlled cryptocurrency exchange, in order to prevent tax evasion, money laundering and swindling. “The introduction of encouraging regulations after assessing all kinds of risks would enable us to generate revenues from the cryptocurrency market, especially from bitcoin. In this context, the country needs a bitcoin bourse and legislation to regulate this realm,” the document notes.
The politician said his party would support in parliament bills aiming at regulating and taxing cryptocurrencies.
Despite the relatively hostile stance of the Turkish government on cryptocurrencies, recently the Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, who oversees the economy, said the government would launch preparations for a national cryptocurrency. The Finance Ministry and the Capital Markets Board have already started working on regulations of the cryptocurrency industry in the country.
This week Venezuela became the first country to issue a national cryptocurrency – The Petro, while Iran officials said they are looking into creating national token.