- Poland's central bank accused of hiring YouTubers to "start a smear campaign" against cryptocurrencies.
- The Narodowy Bank Polski spent around 91,000 zloty (£19,430; $27,300) on a marketing campaign designed to attack the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies.
- That campaign reportedly included money for a video by Marcin Dubiel, one of Poland's most popular YouTubers.
A bizarre battle is emerging in the world of cryptocurrencies after Poland's central bank was accused of hiring YouTubers to "start a smear campaign" against cryptocurrencies in the country.
According to Business Insider Poland, the Narodowy Bank Polski (NFB) spent around 91,000 zloty (£19,430; $27,300) on a marketing campaign designed to attack the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies. The money was spent on platforms including Google and Facebook, but was also used to pay a Polish Youtube partner network called Gamellon.
The Gamellon network reportedly represents many of Poland's top YouTubers, including popular prankster Marcin Dubiel.
In December, Dubiel published a video titled "STRACIŁEM WSZYSTKIE PIENIĄDZE?!" — which loosely translates as "I LOST ALL MY MONEY?!"
In the satirical video, Dubiel invests all his money in a fake cryptocurrency called Dubielcoin, gets rich, but then sees its value plunge and loses everything. It has racked up over 500,000 views.
The video can be seen below (you'll need to speak Polish to understand the details, but the jist of the plot is fairly obvious):
Polish technology blog Spider's Web reports that Dubiel's video was paid for by the NFB, but was not marked as being a paid promotional video.
The video is tagged under the hashtag #uważajnakryptowaluty, which translates as "Watch out for cryptocurrencies" and is associated with a website set up by the NFB to warn of the dangers of investing in cryptocurrencies.
Other YouTube videos appearing under the hashtag include "10 differences between money and cryptocurrency that you need to know" by the Planeta Faktow channel, which has had 510,o00 views.
According to the website money.pl, the central bank acknowledged that it "carried out a campaign on the issue of virtual currencies in social media," in a letter dated February 9.
Narodowy Bank Polski did not respond to an email from Business Insider asking for comment in time for publication.
The campaign has caused an uproar in the crypto community, with one analyst calling the central bank's actions "low down and dirty."
Mati Greenspan, a senior market analyst at trading platform eToro, said in an email: "It's one thing to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) or talk it down if it's bothering you, I can respect that. But to start a smear campaign using social influencers and not disclose the payments, that's just low down and dirty."
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