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Turkey is leading the world in cryptocurrency adoption, according to a global survey.

Statistica’s Global Consumer Survey for 2019 shows that 20% of Turkish residents are familiar with and have been exposed to digital currency, which is the highest figure for any country in the world, Cointelegraph reported.

With President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently announcing that testing of the digital lira is expected to be finalized in 2020, crypto is likely destined to gain even more traction.

While Ankara was at first hesitant to embrace digital assets, everyday people have found it useful. A survey ING conducted in 2015 found that 45% of Turks believed that digital currencies such as Bitcoin were the future of online commerce. This was the highest percentage in Europe, exceeding the average of 28% by a significant margin.

This higher acceptance of crypto indicates that Turks are more comfortable using mobile devices for financial transactions. The same survey showed that 56% of Turks had used mobile payment apps compared with the European average of 33%.

Also read: Crypto banks getting green light from regulators

The online payment sector in Turkey had been ready to adopt crypto, but the first opportunity only came when PayPal was banned in the country following the rejection of its license by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency. The use of crypto in the country spiked to unprecedented levels to fill the online payment space, said the Cointelegraph report.

Barış Özistek, the chairman of both venture capital fund Boğaziçi Ventures and games publication company Netmarble EMEA, attributed the high adoption of crypto to the country’s massive gaming market. He told Cointelegraph, “There are more than 30 million active gamers in Turkey. Gaming is a sphere in which virtual equipment and digital currency is used for the first time, and used most commonly.”

He added: “Turkish users already knew that virtual materials increase in value when supply and demand are created in the markets, or depending on their popularity, they may decrease in value. That’s why Turkish users adapted to cryptocurrencies very fast and easily. Of course, a high percentage of digitally literate people among Turkish users and being informed about trade in our historical past were contributing factors to the situation.”

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