Turks Pile Into Bitcoin and Tether to Escape Plunging Lira

The Turkish lira has become so volatile that Turks have ditched the local currency for assets with an even riskier reputation: cryptocurrencies, the Wall Street Journal reported. While the lira unraveled against the dollar in the last quarter of 2021, cryptocurrency trading volumes using the lira leapt to an average $1.8 billion a day across three exchanges, according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. Those volumes are still modest compared with the results of a 2019 survey by the Bank for International Settlements that found roughly $71 billion of lira transactions a day, but even so are more than any of the preceding five quarters. Turks are particularly enamored of the stablecoin tether, whose value is pegged to the dollar. The lira this fall became the most traded government-issued currency against tether, outpacing the dollar and the euro, according to data provider CryptoCompare. Turks have long weathered spells of economic turmoil by keeping their money in U.S. dollars, euros or gold. The rise of cryptocurrencies in recent years has presented a new group of instruments in which to store wealth, albeit far more volatile. Since September, the lira has lost 40% of its value against the dollar. Bitcoin initially jumped almost 40% against the dollar by early November, but is now down more than 10%. Read more. (Subscription required.)