The background of the Polish anti-Bitcoin campaign

Earlier this week we reported on the grotesque “educational campaign” of the Polish central bank on Youtube. The video, which is supposed to warn of the dangers of crypto investments, has made a big splash. Now we want to take a closer look at the background and motives of the video and Poland’s attitude towards crypto currencies.

Opinion of the National Bank about the Bitcoin secret

Until the controversial Youtube video about the Bitcoin secret on warning of the dangers of crypto currencies saw the light of day, Poland’s opinion about Bitcoin & Co. was rather neutral to positive. In 2013, an official of the Polish Ministry of Finance soberly said: “What is not forbidden is allowed”. In his opinion, however, Bitcoin secret cannot be considered a legal currency. Two years later, the Polish Ministry of Finance announced:

“Any regulatory measure dealing with the problems of trading virtual currencies should, in view of the cross-border nature of these transactions, be taken either as a result of initiatives at EU level or due to irregularities in the crypto market”.

In February 2015, Filip Godecki, CCO of the Polish Crypto Exchange Bitcurex, assessed the government’s position as neutral. In his opinion, the institutions would wait cautiously to see what exactly they would be facing. Although there are still no explicit regulatory measures, in February 2017 trading in crypto currencies was officially recognised in Poland. Shortly afterwards, the government announced its intention to support the digitisation of the national crypto-currency market. In addition, start-ups should be supported so that they can establish themselves on the market. To this end, several programs to promote blockchain technology were launched, e.g. the “Blockchain / DLT Stream and Digital Currencies” program of the Ministry for Digitization. It is therefore not surprising that many crypto-currency companies have settled in Poland over the years.

Total turnaround of the cryptosoft?

On the basis of these measures one could think that Poland has recognised the potential of cryptosoft and wants to adopt a pro attitude towards crypto currencies. In this context, the anti-bit coin video financed by the National Bank is surprising. This had made a big splash in the community. On the one hand, it was not marked as a sponsored video, the financing by the Polish central bank was only subsequently revealed. On the other hand, it is supposed to warn of the dangers associated with investments in crypto currencies. However, the way the cryptosoft video is presented can rather be seen as slanderous and not as instructive. In the course of the previous steps towards a crypto-friendly Poland, the question now arises as to what the country really wants. The website of the National Bank of Poland (NBP) also points out that crypto currencies are not genuine currencies or legal tender.

The Polish news portal contacted the NBP directly and asked about the concrete reasons for the campaign. They received the following answer:

“The aim of the campaign is to warn of the risks associated with investing in virtual currencies, which users should be aware of before they decide to invest their savings”.

After these risks have been explained at length, the NBP adds:

“At the same time, we want to stress that the NBP is not against the development and use of blockchain technology, but the use of this technology in the financial market must be safe and reliable, as is the case with other technologies”.

The way in which the NBP wanted to warn is putting this statement in a doubtful light. Many national banks seem to want to warn potential investors about the risks of crypto currencies. But the NBP’s anti-bit coin video has caused outrage in the crypto community. It is therefore questionable whether the actual purpose of the campaign was fulfilled here.