Poland was never on the list of countries that were fighting cryptocurrencies. However, a recent campaign by the National Polish bank (NBP) has now put them in that category. The central bank has been paying You Tubers $21,000 in order to discourage Polish citizens from buying digital currencies for fear of losing them all.
In its defense, NBP has called it an educational campaign which is aimed at educating citizens about the dangers of digital currencies. The bank, however, said that I had come across more smear campaigns which raised questions about the government’s view on cryptocurrencies.
Poland along some other few European countries had never shown dissatisfaction with cryptocurrencies. In fact back in 2013 now official from the Polish Ministry of Finance said that: “Anything that has not been forbidden is permitted. We, however, cannot count Bitcoin as a legal currency.” More to that in 2015 the finance ministry stated that: “Regulations actions against virtual currencies should be initiated by the EU. Further action can be taken when there is a threat of cryptocurrency market failure.”
In 2015 the CEO of Bitcurex which is the main exchange in Poland said the government was neutral on virtual currencies. This was followed by official recognition of Bitcoin and the other currencies in February 2017 by the country. According to the government website:
“The circulation of digital currency which included buying and selling cryptocurrencies through the internet is officially classified by the official statistics services in Poland.”
By March 2017 the government had proved to be friendly to Bitcoin after it released a Best practices document which was meant to promote the national digital currency market and also help startups establish themselves in the digital market.
The polish government sees a lot of potential and possibility in Blockchain and cryptocurrency. It’s therefore funny and surprising for the central bank to run a smear campaign in a hidden manner. The campaigns are paid in the most subscribed channels and don’t look educational as perceived.
NBP has even previously had an article on their website called ‘Virtual currency is not money.’ It the front page of the article it states that: “This is simply a digital implementation of contact between two people which is not issued or guaranteed by any central banks. There is a risk of lack of universal acceptance of such currencies. They are not accepted by all retail shops and therefore are not a legal tender or currency.”
The campaign did not, however, have a massive impact. Instead, people got angry about it. Crypto Polish Guru wrote on Twitter that: “People are not happy about this action or probably they have ignored it. The country has a ministry of Digitalization, and the minister recently created a Blockchain group to work towards ensuring that there was a good atmosphere for crypto in Poland.”
NBP’s decision to act in secrecy raises questions on how the country will regulate the digital currency in future. In their response, NBP insisted that their campaign was purely educational on the dangers of cryptocurrency because of their high volatility, cyber-crime and lack of central banking.
The bank could be seen the potential of Bitcoin in driving out the financial sector and therefore acting to protect the value of polish money and the stability of its financial system. According to the bank:
“The aim of the information was to reach people interested in using digital currencies. We wanted them to have knowledge about the risks of investing in the currencies. Further, the campaign is also aimed at educating interested people to refrain from taking actions which could make them make losses. NBP, therefore, decided to do a campaign through the media.”
It’s not easy to understand why the bank decided to act in this way. It’s true that it’s their duty to educate people on the dangers of cryptocurrency, but their campaign looks very confusing. Crypto Polish Guru thinks the NBP may have acted this was for reacting late. In his closing remarks:
“Several years bank Poland had a big affair with Amber Gold a company which was offering huge returns for deposits made with them. The company ended becoming bankrupt, and many investors lost money. At that time NBP was quiet and did not react, and it was strongly criticized.”