PayPal today announced it has lost its license to operate in Turkey, a country where 45% of consumers consider digital currencies to be “the future of spending.”
PayPal Can’t Operate in Turkey
A statement on the company’s Turkish website states that from June 6 no further transactions would be fulfilled, and that customers should withdraw funds to banks in the meantime.
“We want to indicate that PayPal’s priority has always been customers,” the statement reads. “We did however encounter local regulatory agency rejections of our license applications and therefore have to apply the relevant steps in accordance with the instruction to stop our activities in Turkey, a decision we regret to make.”
PayPal will continue to “work on” the licensing issue while the site is no longer operational. The agency in question is BDDK, a Turkish umbrella authority regulating payment systems both on and offline.
While customers and staff alike will be affected PayPal said, community pundits were quick to highlight the Turkish decision as a source of embarrassment to the company’s business model.
“[N]eeding a license to transfer money LOL” one Reddit comment from u/steuer2teuer reads.
45% of Turks Say Bitcoin ‘The Future’
PayPal’s forced withdrawal comes at an interesting time for the country. In contrast, Turkey’s government has been broadly open towards Bitcoin and digital currency in general, with public curiosity and merchant acceptance growing as a result.
A survey in April 2015 by ING produced more surprising results: that 45% of Turks – more than any other country sampled – thought that “digital currencies – such as Bitcoin – are the future of spending online.”
A further 28% of those asked were undecided on the issue, with just 27% disagreeing. By comparison, the Netherlands, a country traditionally seen as the European heart of Bitcoin success, produced just 9% of respondents agreeing, with 57% disagreeing.
“Media hype makes Bitcoin attractive but awareness still low,” the survey stated more broadly about the worldwide results, noting that approximately half of Turks were aware of what Bitcoin was.
Outside of Bitcoin, the statistics for Turkish usage of payment apps stood at 56%, also comfortably higher than any other participating country. PayPal’s shutdown, even if temporary, thus produces a void which could see consumer habits changing en masse to favor alternatives with a different ethos – and even currency.
Customers were already seeking assistance informally in the wake of the announcement, with a user petitioning eBay to add Bitcoin to its list of payment methods in the midst of PayPal’s absence:
Hi @AskeBay We can not use any more Paypal payment from Turkey. Do you think add bitcoin etc payment option? We want to see any solutions.
— Mustafa Yalçın (@myalcin81) May 31, 2016
Do you think Turkey could embrace Bitcoin in PayPal’s absence? Let us know in the comments section below!