The National Bank of Poland has admitted to carrying out a $30,000 campaign on the subject of cryptocurrencies using many social media platforms. The campaign resulted in controversy rages about a couple of YouTube videos that are less than flattering about the economic viability of cryptocurrencies.
Marcin Dubiel, a popular Polish Youtuber with more than one million subscribers on his YouTube account, posted a video titled “STRACIŁEM WSZYSTKIE PIENIĄDZE” which loosely translates to “I lost all my money.” At the time of writing, the video already has 502,878 views, more than 19,000 likes and 5,000 dislikes on YouTube.
Central Bank Smear Campaign Against Bitcoin
The National Bank of Poland in partnership with the country’s chief financial regulator, the Komisja Nadzoru Finansowego (KNF), paid Marcin Dubiel to create the video. The video makes no mention of the fact that it was paid for by the central bank and the regulatory body. Their hashtag #uważajnakryptowaluty appears in the description of the video which points to the website uważaj na kryptowaluty owned by the central bank and the KNF. The tagline of the website loosely translates as “virtual currency (cryptocurrency) is not money.” The entire text of the website is replete with countless narratives of how cryptocurrency isn’t actual currency.
The video portrays cryptocurrencies as nothing but get-rich-quick schemes which are risky and will inevitably lead to substantial losses. The main character in the video played by Marcin Dubiel himself starts investing in a fictional cryptocurrency called “DubielCoin.” He experiences some initial success and even goes on to buy a fancy sports car. He takes his girlfriend out on a date only to find out that the restaurant does not accept payments in cryptocurrencies. Having put all of his money in DubielCoin investment, he has no money to pay for the date. His girlfriend then pays and subsequently dumps him. The video ends with the value of DubielCoin crashing spectacularly and the main character losing all his investment while an unknown individual counts the money Dubiel lost and laughs maniacally. This last scene in the video is a not so subtle hint of the general bias against cryptocurrency being espoused by the video.
The major cause for controversy about the video stems from the fact that no mention of any sponsorship by the central bank or the KNF was made in the video. In many countries, it is illegal for agencies of the state to carry out propaganda against its citizens. Even when admitting to the campaign, the National Bank of Poland provided no clarification on the matter other than the fact that they indeed carried out a “sensitization campaign” about cryptocurrencies. Marcin Dubiel wasn’t the only YouTuber contracted, as Planeta Faktów, another YouTuber with more than 1.5 million subscribers, was also paid to create a video about cryptocurrency.
There are those who see this move by the Polish Government as another example of state-sponsored attempts to stifle the growth of cryptocurrency by casting the market in a purely negative light. Central Banks of Turkey, India, and host of other countries have issued dire warnings against bitcoin and other cryptos in the past. There has been a lot of backlash against the video. On the Reddit thread dedicated to the video, the majority of the comments call the attempts laughable.