National Bank of Poland Spends close to PLN 100k on YouTube Campaign against Cryptocurrencies. Triggers instant controversy. In December 2017 NBP, the Polish Central Bank launched a PR campaign directed at the Polish people, warning against risks associated with cryptocurrencies.
It was entitled “Watch out for Cryptocurrencies!”.
Poles had the chance to learn about the issue not only from the “official” video clip, but also from several famous YouTubers who were also publishing cautionary clips on their YouTube channels in a surprising coincidence.
It isn’t hard to figure out that this strange activity aimed at discrediting cryptocurrencies was synchronized and coordinated.
Following the campaign, the NBP was asked, under the rules of access to public information to disclose how much had been spent on the campaign and the recipient of the payments.
It transpires that the bank spent nearly PLN 100k (approx. EUR 25k) advertising the campaign on Facebook, Google and using the aforementioned Youtubers. One of the main recipients of public money was Gamelan Sp. z o.o. (limited liability company) which cooperates with Marcin Dubiel, author of “I lost all my money?!”
- Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7GZeyXAFzo
- Link 2: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=uwazaj+na+kryptowaluty
Even though the NBP wasn’t very forthcoming in naming particular video clips which had been sponsored with public money, we can only assume that all the videos sharing the same key points from NBP’s campaign were inspired by the Central Bank.
The whole campaign – ‘Watch out for cryptocurrencies” – was widely criticized by number of commentators including many moderates. This was due to the information being unclear, several generalizations over some specific features and bending of facts to fit the main theme.
For example, the website created for the campaign lists risks associated with cryptocurrencies. However, some of them are so generic, that they easily fit traditional cash or foreign currencies risks as well.
Another criticism of the campaign has been that it is considered fear mongering rather than educational. The fact that cryptocurrencies are a becoming a fact of life should lead to warnings rather than blanket criticism. A more useful exercise would have been a balanced educational website providing practical information on cryptocurrency and the related technology.
While the Royal Mint in UK is looking to launch their own cryptocurrency backed with gold, the Polish government is looking for ways to scare people, regulate their access to cryptocurrencies and maybe even attempt to ban them completely.
The reaction of the trading community was immediate.
First, YouTubers who were outside the loop of payments from the NBP began to wonder why there were such a number of similar clips appearing simultaneously. Then, the Trading Jam Session Foundation which brings together thousands of traders interested in social learning and quality education launched their own campaign mischievously entitled “watch out for currencies”
The so-called ‘street’ welcomed it very warmly.
In the meantime, at the beginning of February, the Polish Regulator (KNF – Committee of Financial Supervisory) issued warning against BitBay, the largest Polish Bitcoin exchange, and targeted few other exchanges.