Poland is one of the biggest bitcoin markets that gets the least amount of coverage in the English-speaking press, despite their currency typically ranking in the top-10 for bitcoin trades globally. Bitcoin.com interviewed Michal Dziedzic, Business Development Director for Bitmarket.pl, one of Poland’s largest bitcoin exchanges.
Bitmarket hosts around 45% of the daily volume of trades between bitcoin and the Polish Zloty. The exchange is run by the creators of the largest domain marketplace in Central Europe, AfterMarket.pl, and offers live Bitcoin and Litecoin trading, with margin trading up to x10. They also coordinate donation drives in bitcoin for charities and offer a daily price guessing jackpot game on their website.
Polish Bitcoin Ecosystem
Bitcoin.com (BC): Can you describe the bitcoin ecosystem in Poland?
Michal Dziedzic (MD): We have a small but great internal eco-system. We have merchants who accept payments; we have exchanges and a company (InPay.pl) which connect bitcoin users to merchants, allowing them to pay their bills using bitcoins. There are also some bitcoin miners here who have rigs over tens of MWatts power consumption.
BC: Can you explain which is growing faster – bitcoin as a payment method or bitcoin as an investment?
MD: The amount of merchants who are accepting bitcoin is slowly but steadily increasing in our country.
Over the past few months the Polish Zloty has depreciated against currencies like USD or EUR, therefore, bitcoin has become a great store of value for some users and I think this was lately really important.
Over the past few months the Polish Zloty has depreciated against currencies like USD or EUR therefore bitcoin has become a great store of value for some users
There is a big variety of the people who are interested in bitcoin as an investment – some of them are just buying them and keep “for a better time” and some are typical traders for whom bitcoin has become a way to earn money on a monthly basis. There is not really much of a difference if you compare our users to the rest of the world.
Large and Growing Market
BC: Poland has long been one of the top-10 countries for bitcoin volumes worldwide. Can you describe how bitcoin adoption is coming along there?
MD: Yes, it is true that the bitcoin scene in Poland is quite big if you compare the number of citizens to our volume.
I believe that the main reason why not many foreign users had heard about us is that exchanges like Kraken or Bitstamp were created from beginning to operate in EUR or USD markets /BTC, but our main target has been the BTC/PLN (Polish Zloty) pair (obviously there is also additionally EUR/PLN). Nevertheless, some of our foreign customers (they use EUR) are happy with our service, the most being in PLN, and we hope that our growth in this sector will continue. One important thing is the EUR market has got a relevant depth to our main PLN market (we use FX transposition of PLN into EUR market).
The increase in bitcoin’s price is definitely helping – thanks to this we have a bigger attention of the media hence we begin to notice that more and more new users from Poland are making their first steps into the world of digital currencies and usually they start from registering on our exchange.
The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) effect has an influence on many people therefore they want to know what a Bitcoin actually is.
Personally, I see a really huge difference if we go back in time. When I was starting my adventure with Bitcoin as a student a few years ago while writing my thesis about it not many people have heard about it – there was basically no media coverage at the time. Now the bitcoin community is much bigger and it is really easy to obtain information about digital currencies.
BC: What are the obstacles to bitcoin adoption there?
MD: I think the obstacles are the same as in other countries. Lots of people basically don’t know what bitcoin is and they are afraid to use it. Sometimes media coverage is also negative – old convictions that bitcoin is being used for criminal activity and money laundry which were made a few years ago are still used even though a lot has changed over the past years.
We also hope that the banks will be more friendly when it comes to the partnership with bitcoin companies. The current policy of some Polish banks is to denounce the bank accounts agreements for businesses involved in the services for the cryptocurrency market. That’s why lately we have been forced to change the bank and the new system of bank accounts.
BC: What does the Polish government say about bitcoin?
What is promising is that our government wants to change things – we will see whether for better or worse but we believe that everything will be more transparent soon. In 2016 The Ministry of Digital Affairs became interested in Bitcoin – currently they are working with a group of blockchain/bitcoin companies & specialist (amongst them is our exchange). The goal is to properly legitimize and regulate bitcoin in order to improve bitcoin adoption in Poland.
In 2016 The Ministry of Digital Affairs became interested in Bitcoin.[…] The goal is to properly legitimize and regulate bitcoin in order to improve bitcoin adoption in Poland.
BC: How fast are you expecting Bitcoin adoption to grow going forward?
MD: I would like to think that this is just the beginning of a great and long journey. Over the past years there has been a tremendous growth in bitcoin popularity – just look how many new bitcoin/blockchain companies have been created. If nothing bad happens and the governments see the potential of this technology, it’s safe to say that bitcoin’s future looks really promising.
What do you think of the Polish bitcoin scene? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitmarket
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