Poland Post enters Web3 with NFT postage stamps

Polish state postal company plans to lure philatelists and NFT bros with its space-themed “crypto-stamps” set to go on sale at the turn of January and February.

Image: Jaro.eth on Twitter

“The issuance of the first Polish crypto-stamp is the effect of combining our passion for philately with modern technology,” Poland Post stated in its press release, hinting that it plans to further delve into the world of digital collectibles. However, despite the optimistic tone of the announcement, the project is unlikely to be met with great enthusiasm — according to Twitter sentiment analysis, Poland ranks as the most anti-NFT country in the world.

The “Poland in space” collection, minted on October 18 to celebrate the birthday of the country’s postal service, consists of two philatelic thalers — digital-only memorable medals — and “crypto-stamps” of five rarity tiers, four of them paired with real-world postage stamps. All tokens from the collection are ERC-1155 NFTs issued on Polygon.

The first thaler, featuring Polish king Sigismund II Augustus, will be available this month, gifted for free to the first 1558 users who subscribe to Poland Post’s newsletter. This number was chosen not by accident — in 1558, Sigismund II Augustus established the first regular postal service in the country. The thaler NFT entitles its holder to claim “crypto-stamps” on pre-sale.

“Crypto-stamps” themselves will go on sale somewhere around January-February 2023, with prices ranging from 18.5 PLN (around $3.7) to 123 PLN (around $25). The real-world postage stamps will be sold in postal offices across the country just like regular stamps, and corresponding NFTs can be claimed by scanning the QR code from the package.

Poland Post NFT
A mockup of a "crypto-stamp" by Poland Post. Image: nft.poczta-polska.pl

The NFT collection by Poland Post mirrors a similar initiative launched by the Netherlands’ PostNL and the Austrian Post Office in September, where two European postal services teamed together to marry postage stamps with non-fungible tokens. The joint crypto stamp issuance is expected to enjoy great success, as all previous separate collections completely sold out.

However, for Poland Post, such success would be hard to replicate — for a number of reasons.

Firstly, just like many other state-owned postal companies, Poland Post is hardly ever associated with timely delivery and excellent customer service, let alone with some breakthrough tech. For that reason, its surprise step into NFT space quickly became the butt of many jokes.

“Pope memorials and bootleg plushies not enough to keep them afloat, I guess?” one Polish Redditor joked.

“As timely as their mail delivery,” another user commented.

Secondly, Poland isn’t known for its love of NFTs — quite the contrary, in fact. Polish people hate NFTs with passion, or at least so suggests the latest study by Cashnetusa.com. Using Google search volume and Twitter sentiment analysis tools, researches found that Poland is the most anti-NFT country, with 227 of every 1,000 NFT-themed tweets found to be negative in sentiment.

“Contentious NFT stories have flooded the news in Poland, such as the influencer Marta Rentel, who sold the “digital love” of her online persona “Marti Renti” for $250,000 (1 million Polish zloty),” researchers mentioned, pointing out that a number of NFT controversies may have contributed to the anti-NFT sentiment found on Polish Twitter.

So far, it doesn’t seem like “Poland in space” was met with great interest — according to PolygonScan, only two wallets attempted to mint thaler NFT so far, and both failed. However, it may be too early to make estimates about the future of the collection, since the delay may be on the side of a newsletter — I myself haven't received yet any confirmation after signing up.

Nevertheless, Poland Post Chair Krzysztof Falkowski remains optimistic about the new venture. In a recent press release, he asserted that he’s “committed to see Poland Post enter the world of technology in the various areas of the company’s operations.”

“I believe that philatelist activity can be a very interesting solution for the future,” he added.