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Polish central bank paid YouTube stars to make a video about a cryptocurrency crash to warn on risks

Arjun Kharpal
  • Poland's central bank paid a YouTube star to make a video about a cryptocurrency crash in order to warn about the dangers of investing in digital coins.
  • The National Bank of Poland (NBP) told CNBC it spent 91,221.99 zloty ($26,764) on Gamellon, a YouTube partner network that has a number of well-known bloggers as part of it, Google, and Facebook's Irish subsidiary.
  • The NBP is "not opposed to the development of blockchain technology."

Poland's central bank paid a YouTube star to make a video about a cryptocurrency crash in order to warn about the dangers of investing in digital coins.

The National Bank of Poland (NBP) told CNBC it spent 91,221.99 Polish zloty ($26,764) on Gamellon, a YouTube partner network that features a number of well-known bloggers, as well as Google and Facebook's Irish subsidiary.

Marcin Dubiel, who has nearly 1 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, posted a video titled "Stracilem Wszystkie Pieniadze?!" which translates as "I lost all my money." It follows a character who buys a fake digital currency which crashes.

It has racked up over half a million views. In the video description, there is the hashtag "#uwazajnakryptowaluty." In December, the NBP launched a campaign called "Uwazaj Na Kryptowaluty" which translates as "beware of cryptocurrencies." The aim of the site is to warn the public against risks associated with investing in virtual currencies.

The site details a number of risks from fraud, to theft, to high volatility.

While a number of regulators across the world have highlighted the dangers in the space, this appears to be the first instance of a central bank backing a YouTube video to do so.

"The result of this campaign is that people who were interested in investing in cryptocurrencies either refrain from these actions (which could bring them substantial losses) or are fully aware when they take them and consciously accept the associated risk. NBP decided to conduct the campaign via digital and traditional media," a NBP spokesperson told CNBC via email.

The NBP is "not opposed to the development of blockchain technology and its application, but the use of this technology in financial markets must be as safe and tested as in the case of other technologies," the spokesperson added.

Blockchain technology is the public ledger of transactions that underpins bitcoin. Other cryptocurrencies have different blockchains. The technology is seen as one that could be used to improve the efficiency of cross-border money transfers and contract signings.

A number of central banks and regulators have warned on the risks of trading digital currencies. The European Union's European Supervisory Authorities for securities, banking and insurance and pensions said in a joint statement recently that it was "concerned" about an increasing number of people buying virtual currencies without being aware of the risks involved.

Bank of Canada Stephen Poloz meanwhile told CNBC in January that bitcoin trading is "gambling," while Lars Rohde, the head of Denmark's central bank called trading in the cryptocurrency "deadly" in December .

In China, regulators have cracked down hard on cryptocurrency trading , while South Korea introduced new rules last month to protect consumers.




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