Turkey Puts Central Bank Digital Currency on New Economic Roadmap

The government of Turkey has included a central bank-issued digital currency in its 2019–2023 economic roadmap published on July 9.

As per the 11th Development Plan from the Presidency of the Turkish Republic, “Blockchain-based digital central bank money will be implemented.”

In addition to a central bank digital currency, the development plan lists blockchain adoption in the operations of transportation and customs. It further notes that public services and administration can be improved by emerging technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay presented the plan to the parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission, saying, “We will attach importance to our energy and development policies during the period of the development plan.”

As indicated via a report by Al-Monitor in early 2018, Turkey has been considering issuing a national cryptocurrency for some time. According to an interview in February 2018, economist and then-Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said: 

“We are planning to start our own work on digital currencies. We place high importance on digitalization.”

Some in the government, however, reportedly remain skeptical toward cryptocurrencies at large, with several ministers comparing such projects to pyramid schemes.

A paper from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted in late June that central banks would start issuing digital currencies in the near future. The IMF cited a central bank digital currency pilot program in Uruguay as precedent, along with a number of projects — in the Bahamas, China, Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, Sweden and Ukraine — as being close to testing.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Statistica's Global Consumer Survey for 2019 suggests that around 20% of Turkey’s residents are cryptocurrency investors. According to the survey, Turkey had the highest per capita rate of cryptocurrency ownership among the surveyed countries.

Countries around the globe have launched a number of blockchain-based infrastructure initiatives. For instance, the mayor of Seoul, South Korea, announced in May that the government would implement blockchain technology in its citizen ID cards. The mayor also noted that Seoul already has blockchain-based administrative services, such as mobile e-voting and car sales.