UK Advertising Watchdog to Crack Down on ‘Misleading’ Crypto Ads

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the U.K. advertising watchdog, declared it would crack down on misleading ads promoting cryptocurrency investments. The organization will include cryptocurrency campaigns as a “red alert” priority in the financial marketing department. The organization will be more proactive regarding these ads, it claims, contacting companies and issuing warnings in the future.

UK Advertising Watchdog to Increase Vigilance on Crypto Campaigns

The U.K. advertising watchdog is not happy about how cryptocurrency campaigns are being carried in the country. The Advertising Standards Authority said it will toughen its standards to crack down on ‘misleading’ cryptocurrency ads. Consequently, any ad that doesn’t comply with the standards issued by the regulator will be taken down. Miles Lockwood, director of complaints and investigations at the ASA, stated:

We see this as an absolutely crucial and priority area for us. Where we do find problems we will crack down hard and fast.

The agency has put cryptocurrency marketing campaigns as a red alert priority and will increase the oversight on all kinds of crypto-related ads. According to its rules, most of these ads do not fulfill the conditions required by the regulator. However, the ASA relies mostly on consumer complaints to act against third parties. But now the regulator will play a more proactive role in the oversight of these marketing activities even on social media.

Louise Maroney, Financial Complaints Lead for the ASA, stated:

We do recognise that there are some types of media that we haven’t been able to address fully until now.

Confusing Rules

The ASA has jumped into the public eye now that cryptocurrencies have become more popular for potential retail investors. For this reason, the agency took action when Luno, a cryptocurrency trading app, displayed ads on public transportation all across London in May. At the time, the ASA called the firm out to be sure other ads “did not irresponsibly take advantage of consumers’ lack of experience or credulity by implying that bitcoin investment was straightforward or accessible.”

The problem is that most times, these rules are not as straightforward as players in the crypto field would wish. According to Luno, this lack of clarity is causing problems for cryptocurrency companies running these campaigns. Luno’s CEO Marcus Swanepoel stated at that time:

Honestly, we were under the impression that these ads were OK.

The FCA released a research note in June starting that consumers buying cryptocurrency as a result of advertising are much more likely to regret the purchase.

What do you think about the actions of the U.K. advertising regulator on cryptocurrency ads? Tell us in the comments section below.

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