A Polish Youtuber, with around one million subscribers, was paid circa $30,000 by the Central Bank of Poland, in collaboration with the Polish Financial Supervision Authority, to portray cryptocurrencies in a negative light without disclosing the payment in the video.
Marcin Dubiel, whose video “I lost all my money” has half a million views, portrays cryptocurrencies as a way to get rich quick, to only find out he had no money to pay for a date at a restaurant and was generally left penniless due to cryptocurrency investments.
The video’s description contains the hashtag #uważajnakryptowaluty, a website by Poland’s Central Bank and FCA which portrays digital currencies as risky, having no guarantee, and not classified as electronic money.
The Central Bank of Poland has admitted that “it carried out a campaign on the issue of virtual currencies in social media,” without providing any further comment on the matter.
Nor do they explain why their paid advertising was undisclosed in the video by Marcin Dubiel, who is just one among others who received such payments, including Planeta Faktów, a Youtube channel with 1.5 million subscribers.
The legality of this action by Poland’s Central Bank is unclear as usually, within a democracy, it is illegal for state actors or contractors to engage in propaganda directed at their own citizens.
Whether the video in question can so be classified is probably a grey line, but from a visual perspective the story telling appears to be highly biased, portraying Dubiel as a victim of an evil mastermind who counts the cash Dubiel lost.
So subtly emphasizing that fiat printed by the Central Bank is what has value, even though it is backed by nothing, not even mining energy or computer code. And less subtly they have Dubiel’s girlfriend dump him because the pizzeria would not accept crypto, so she had to pay for the date with fiat.
Poland’s lack of access, in general, to English language information might make them especially susceptible to such propaganda, but that the Central Bank has found it fit to take such action does suggest one of the least technologically advanced country in Eastern Europe, with a paltry internet speed ranking of 41, is so for a reason.