Cryptocurrency ads banned by UK watchdog for failing to highlight risks

The UK’s advertising watchdog banned seven crypto ads on Wednesday and said they must not appear again.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the ads were “banned for taking advantage of consumer inexperience irresponsibly and failing to illustrate the risk of an investment.”

Prohibited advertisements include a website and Twitter post from a pizzeria chain as well as a digital poster from a cryptocurrency exchange.

The majority of prohibited advertisements are put up by cryptocurrency exchanges and cryptocurrency exchanges.

Companies affected by the ban include eToro, Coinburp, Coinbase Europe, Luno Money, Exmo Exchange, Payward and Papa John’s GB.

Papa John’s Bitcoin Ads

Advertisement on Papa John’s website claiming “Free Bitcoins worth £10″ [$13]”and” Save £15 when you spend £30 or more and get £10 worth of Bitcoin from Luno! “Twitter ads are similar.

Papa John’s says the ads are part of the annual celebration of “Bitcoin pizza day,” which marks the day when two Papa John’s pizzas were purchased for 10,000 bitcoins in May 2010. Today, number the same bitcoin would be worth $482. million.

The pizza chain argued that the ad made no comment about investing in bitcoin and that the promotion merely offered a mechanism for customers to receive free bitcoins.

But the ASA concluded that the offer “trivialized” a “serious and potentially costly financial decision.”

“The ads are addressed to a general audience, and we assume that most participants in a promotion involving the purchase of pizza are likely to be inexperienced given their understanding of cryptocurrencies and the risks associated with them. risks inherent in doing so”. “We further note that the ads do not contain a cryptocurrency risk warning.”

Ads on Coinbase

The Coinbase ad is a paid Facebook ad that reads: “£5 in bitcoin in 2010 will be worth over £100,000 by January 2021. Don’t miss the next decade – get started on Coinbase today now.”

The ad also says: “Buy bitcoin in 5 minutes for as little as £25” and the word “unregulated” was used.

In its ruling, the ASA said the ad was misleading because it implied that there would be a similar guaranteed increase in the value of bitcoin over the next decade, and it did not explicitly state that past performance not necessarily a guide for the future.

Miles Lockwood, the watchdog’s director of investigations and complaints, said in a statement: “Cryptoassets is a red-hot priority issue for us.”

He added: “Consumers need to be aware of the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies, and companies should ensure that their advertising is not misleading or socially irresponsible by taking advantage of the lack of consumer perception of these complex and volatile products.”

This is not the first time the ASA has banned crypto advertising. In May, an advertising campaign told people in the UK “it’s time to buy” bitcoin has been banned by ASA.

Poster for crypto exchange service Luno – shown on the London Underground network and on London buses this year – contains a cartoon image of bitcoin with the words “If you see Bitcoin on the subway , it’s time to buy”.

The watchdog said it had received four complaints related to the ad. Three of them were from people who believed the ad failed to illustrate the risk of an investment and accused it of being misleading. One person said the ad took advantage of consumers’ lack of experience or credibility. Cryptocurrency ads banned by UK watchdog for failing to highlight risks

Sarah Ridley

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