This is a popular question among our crypto investor Turkish Citizenship by Investment clients. They are the ones who care a lot about their privacy and want to separate their funds into different passports and names.

On our previous article here, we have explained the crypto vs. Turkey relationship. Until 16th of April, Turkey showed a neutral and almost friendly approach towards the subject. However Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (“TCMB”) has published its first official legal document regarding the topic. Regulation on Non-Usage of the Crypto Assets in Payments (“Regulation”) was published on Official Gazette on 16th April 2021.  

With this Regulation, it is no longer possible to use crypto assets in payments. Which does not means that cryptocurrencies are banned in Turkey. But we can say that Turkey is taking steps towards imputing tax over crypto assets. Before diving too deep let us explain what does “crypto assets” mean.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF CRYPTO ASSETS?

“Crypto assets” term entered to Turkish legal system with this new Regulation. It means “intangible assets that are digitally issued with the distributed ledger technology or other similar technologies, which are distributed via digital networks, but not qualified as fiat money, deposit money, electronic currency, payment instrument, securities or capital market instrument”.

WHAT IS NEW IN THIS REGULATION?

Reading the Regulation itself brings up many questions, due to its references to other laws. For the English translation of the regulation itself you can simply click here. For a brief explanation of the Regulation you can just keep reading or watch the video.

Regulation states that crypto assets can’t be used in payment services of “Payment Service Providers”. Similarly, they can’t be used while issuing electronic currencies by Payment Service Providers. Furthermore, “Payment Service Providers” can not develop businesses that directly or indirectly use crypto assets in those services.

Who are the Payment Service Providers?

  1. Banks
  2. Electronic Currency Institutions (Payzee, Hepsipay, İyzico, Papara, TurkPara etc. You can click here for the detailed list of active electronic currency institutions.)
  3. Payment Institutions (İstPay, MoneyGram, PayU, WesternUnion etc. You can click here for the detailed list of active payment institutions)
  4. PTT (Post office department)

According to the Regulation, “Payment Institutions” and “Electronic Currency Institutions” can’t intermediate to crypto exchange platforms. In other words, they can’t intermediate to platforms that provide purchasing, selling, depositing, transferring or issuing of crypto asset services. Likewise, they can’t intermediate on the transfer of funds at such platforms. Which means that only banks and PTT can intermediate on transactions at crypto exchange platforms.

In short, no one can request Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in return for a good or service. So, you can trade it in exchanges, hodl it in your wallet but when you want to buy stuff, government wants you to use fiat currency.

WHEN DOES CRYPTO ASSET BAN BEGINS?

As of 30/04/2021 this regulation will be in force. However, regulation does not states the legal sanctions of breaking the provisions.

WHAT TO UNDERSTAND FROM THIS REGULATION?

  1. Crypto assets are neither commodity nor money.
  2. Crypto assets are not acceptable payment instruments.
  3. Payment services with crypto assets cannot be provided, even if it is payment with electronic currency.
  4. Banks, PTT, MoneyGram, Western Union, İyzico, Papara and other Payment Service Providers cannot develop business structures that use crypto assets.
  5. Banks can still intermediate on cryptocurrency exchange platforms or any transactions over such platforms.
  6. Regulation does not bans trading in crypto exchange platforms.
  7. It is not a ban of cryptocurrencies, but a ban of using cryptocurrencies as a payment method.
  8. Anyone who wishes to withdraw or deposit fiat currency through an exchange platform is obliged to use a bank or the Turkish postal office.

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