UK steps up scrutiny of dedicated cryptocurrency ads

Crypto ads in the sights of the ASA

The UK’s advertising watchdog is preparing to regulate ads related to cryptocurrency investments.

In a bid to protect themselves, regulators want to prevent damage, mostly financial, from inexperienced individuals deciding to trade in digital assets.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) told the Financial Times that it will begin a major effort in July to track down and censor misleading or irresponsible cryptocurrency ads. In particular, it will focus its efforts online and on social media platforms.

We see this as an absolutely crucial and priority area for us. If we find problems, we will crack down quickly and hard,” said Miles Lockwood, director of complaints and investigations at the ASA.

Lockwood says the ASA has classified cryptocurrency-dedicated ads as a “red alert” priority over traditional financial ads. As such, the regulator will increase its ability to spot suspicious online ads using technologies such as scraping or the use of artificial intelligence.

To achieve its aims, the government agency said it was working with major technology platforms to have fraudulent ads removed in a separate initiative, without giving further details.

While the ASA is stepping up its efforts to oversee cryptocurrency-related ads, most investments related to the sector do not fall under strict UK rules on promoting traditional financial products.

“We recognise that there are certain types of media that we have not been able to fully address to date,” said Louise Maroney, who leads financial complaints for the ASA.

The ASA’s decision to tackle misleading cryptocurrency advertising comes as the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) takes a tough stance on cryptocurrency service providers.

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Earlier this month, the FCA issued a warning against Binance Markets Limited, a company in the UK that Binance intended to use to operate a bespoke trading platform for UK customers.

Going back further, we remember the Coinfloor and Luno ads that flooded London’s advertising space back in 2020. The ASA had reacted by banning the famous ad“Time to buy Bitcoin” by Luno, deemed irresponsible because it “took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or gullibility.”

Bitcoin Luno

Former Luno ad, now banned

While many governments are trying to stem the call to invest in cryptocurrencies, central banks are simultaneously starting more and more digital currency pilot projects (DCPs).

While Bitcoin and stateless cryptocurrencies do not seem to be charming various participants in the traditional finance sector, blockchain technology, on the other hand, seems to be attracting the attention of many central and national banks.

Read more on the same topic : TikTok bans ads promoting cryptocurrencies

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About the author: Bela Le Tiec

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His favorite text: A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto.

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His favorite artist: Daft Punk.

His goal: to help educate his contemporaries about blockchain and distributed networks.
All articles by Bela Le Tiec.