The UK advertising regulatory, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), is preparing a crackdown on the marketing tactics of cryptocurrency companies for publishing misleading advertisements.
According to a Financial Times report on Friday, the agency has put a ‘red alert’ priority on crypto advertising.
“We see this [cryptocurrency ads] as an absolutely crucial and priority area for us,” Miles Lockwood, Director of complaints and investigations at ASA, told the British publication. “Where we do find problems, we will crack down hard and fast.”
The ASA will focus on the ads running on the online and social media platforms and will push to take down misleading and irresponsible promotions.
Misleading Bitcoin Ads
The number of crypto ads ballooned with the price rally of Bitcoin. Many cryptocurrency exchanges are running multi-million dollar advertisement campaigns, both online and offline, to lure new crypto investors to their platforms.
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The British watchdog started taking down Bitcoin ads earlier this year with the ban on Coinfloor’s print ad in a regional newspaper, calling it ‘misleading’ and ‘socially irresponsible’. Moreover, the regulator took down a massive ad campaign ran by crypto exchange Luno on London tube stations and buses.
Luno’s ad stated: “If you’re seeing Bitcoin on the Underground (on a bus), it’s time to buy.” However, the ASA pointed out that the ads did not display any risk warnings, thus underplaying the risks associated with Bitcoin investments.
Interestingly, both these actions were taken following complaints against the ads received by the ASA. However, it is not clear if the regulatory body will start taking on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency ads by itself or if citizens still need to raise the flag.
“We do recognize that there are some types of media that we haven’t been able to address fully until now,” said Louise Maroney, Head of ASA’s Financial Complaints Division.
Meanwhile, the FCA issued multiple warnings on the investment risks of cryptocurrencies, but the number of UK adults holding cryptocurrencies spiked to 2.3 million.