Polish Central Bank Caught Funding Anti-Cryptocurrency YouTube Campaign
It’s no secret that centralized financial systems aren’t happy about the ongoing cryptocurrency revolution, with incumbent finance magnates such as Jamie Dimon shooting down digital currencies whenever possible. Poland’s central bank, however, has taken the war on crypto a step further by covertly paying popular Youtubers to portray cryptocurrencies in a negative light.
Polish financial news platform Money.pl has revealed that the Central Bank of Poland, working hand-in-glove with the Financial Supervision Authority, has paid popular Polish Youtuber Marcin Dubiel over $30,000 in order to post a video entitled “I LOST ALL THE MONEY?!”.
The video, which appears to be composed with the intent of disseminating “FUD” — a crypto slang term for fear, uncertainty, and doubt, contains the hashtag “#uważajnakryptowaluty” in the description.
The hashtag is linked to a website created by Poland’s Central Bank and the Polish FCA that portrays cryptocurrencies as risky investments that are not backed by a guarantee and represent no inherent value — a description surprisingly close to that of fiat currency.
Poland’s Central Bank has admitted that it “carried out a campaign on the issue of virtual currencies in social media,” but made no specific references to the YouTube videos. The same Money.pl report indicates that the FCA paid to have anti-crypto videos published on the Planeta Faktów (Planet of Facts) Youtube channel, which boasts over 1.5 million subscribers.
Anti-Crypto Polish Shills
Marcin Dubiel’s video, which was posted on a YouTube channel with roughly 900,000 subscribers, has received around 500,000 views to date and presents a narrative in which a young man invests all of his savings into cryptocurrency.
The short clip, which runs a little under five minutes, shows the protagonist generating significant profits and purchasing a luxury car with his crypto gains only to fail to pay for a dinner date when the restaurant he is dining in requests fiat currency as payment. The protagonists date then storms out, implying that it’s not possible to use crypto as “real money”.
The release of the video is at odds with Poland’s recent progress toward crypto-acceptance. Earlier this month the Central Statistical Office of Poland recognized the trading and mining of cryptocurrencies as “official economic activity”, legitimizing digital currencies in the country to some extent.
The Polish government has slowly shifted what has been a “hands off” approach to cryptocurrency regulation to direct opposition. In 2013, the Polish Ministry of Finance explicitly stated that “What is not forbidden is permitted. However, we certainly cannot consider Bitcoin to be a legal currency”, and appeared to happy to leave legislative action to the European Union.
This position is reinforced by a 2015 statement on Cryptocurrency use and tax within the country, stating:
“At present, the tax authorities have not found any related irregularities in the country in violation of tax law provisions regarding the use of cryptocurrencies. The FCA conducts permanent monitoring and analysis activities (assessing the) potential risk of money laundering or terrorist financing using cryptocurrencies to detect possible threats.”
Despite this neutral stance, it appears that the FCA is beginning to cave to pressure from Poland’s banking system. Polish cryptocurrency investors have experienced bank account termination due to cryptocurrency trading, with one trader provided with a letter of termination due to SEPA transfer from European crypto exchanges:
“Dear Sir, based on the terms of service of your account, the bank has a right to terminate an account in case of a justified suspicion that the account is used for illegal purposes. Bitcoin trading, which can be seen on your accounts, is not covered by Polish law – there are no regulations and recommendations in this area. Based on that, we’re cancelling your accounts with a 1 month notice period. Please take actions to move the funds off the accounts.”
Overall, it’s clear that the Polish government is beginning to work in tandem with incumbent financial institutions that don’t want to see the crypto revolution take hold in their country.