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Crypto Expert Chosen by Erdogan for Turkey’s Central Bank Board

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Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has appointed professor Fatma Ozkul, an expert in crypto assets and blockchain technology, to the central bank’s rate-setting committee.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, the nomination of Ozkul was announced in a decree on December 22.

Since 2012, Ozkul has been a lecturer at Istanbul’s Marmara University, with a focus on accounting, finance, and auditing. 

Her expertise extends to blockchain technology and digital assets, and she even authored a book on crypto asset accounting in 2022, as stated in her university profile.

Ozkul is now the latest addition to Turkey’s central bank Monetary Policy Committee, whose primary responsibility is to set the benchmark interest rate to control inflation. 

On December 21, the committee raised the country’s interest rate by 2.5 percentage points to 42.5% as a response to Turkey’s inflation rate surpassing 61.98% in November.

After winning Turkey’s general election in May, Erdoğan reportedly formed a new economic team, appointing former Goldman Sachs banker Hafize Gaye Erkan as the governor of the central bank.

In 2022, the central bank successfully conducted the initial test of its own digital currency, the Digital Turkish Lira.

Crypto Adoption Soars in Turkey 

Turkey has seen a surge in crypto adoption, with the country ranking fourth globally in terms of raw crypto transaction volumes, according to a report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. 

The report showed that between July 2022 and June 2023, Turkey witnessed approximately $170 billion in crypto activity, placing it just behind the United States, India, and the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, a survey conducted earlier this year revaled that Turkish adults are increasingly turning to cryptocurrency investments as the country continues to suffer from soaring inflation. 

Per the survey, over half of the Turkish population is now participating in the crypto market. 

This represents a 12% surge in the number of crypto investors in the country over the past 18 months, with figures rising from 40% in November 2021 to an impressive 52% by May 2023.

The findings showed growing interest and acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a safeguard against inflation, particularly given the significant depreciation of the Turkish lira by over 50% against the US dollar. 

The survey also revealed that the demographics of crypto investors among Turkish adults have diversified considerably over the past year and a half. 

While men continue to dominate the market with a 57% share, women’s participation rates, particularly among the younger generation, show a rising trend. 

More specifcially, almost half (47%) of crypto investors aged 18 to 30 are female, suggesting a narrowing gender gap as crypto adoption becomes more widespread. 

In response to the increased crypto transactions, Turkish authorities are reportedly considering regulatory measures for the country’s crypto market. 

The focus of these regulations will likely be on licensing and taxation, aiming to remove Turkey from the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

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