The move comes amid a revitalised financial outlook for Istanbul which recently saw inflation fall to its lowest level since 2015. Many observers had anticipated that Turkey’s plight might have followed that of Greece in recent years, given its gross foreign debt of more than £35bn. However, the country’s financial institutions have welcomed the government’s measures to arrest the decline. In particular, embracing what could become a national cryptocurrency seems to have struck a chord with both the business community and the wider public.
First presented as an idea by Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay in June, the project has been developed by the TUBITAK technology centre.
Driven by widespread enthusiasm for the scheme, the research unit has made sufficient progress for the government to this week announce it will complete testing of the “Digital Lira” in 2020, ready for launch next December.
The government announced last month that it would be establishing a nationwide blockchain infrastructure to pave the way for a potential state-issued digital currency.
The announcement was made as part of Erdogan’s “Annual Presidential Program” document which outlines Turkey’s return to economic stability.
“The main objective is to establish a financial sector with a strong institutional structure that can respond to the financing needs of the real sector at a low cost, offer different financial instruments to a wide investor base through reliable institutions and support Istanbul’s goal of becoming an attractive global financial centre,” reads the document.
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