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UK advertising watchdog labels crypto adverts a “red-alert priority” issue

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has labelled crypto adverts a “red-alert priority issue”, banning a number of adverts from reappearing.

UK advertising watchdog labels crypto adverts a “red-alert priority” issue
Photograph: Executium on Unsplash.

The UK’s advertising watchdog said that its decision followed proactive monitoring of crypto asset ads this year with the rulings set to shape guidance around digital asset ads in 2022.

Director of complaints and investigations, Miles Lockwood, said: “Rulings published today and over the next few weeks will shape follow-up enforcement work in the new year to bring all crypto assets ads into line with our expectations, and will form the basis of updated guidance.”

One of the issues with many crypto adverts that the ASA has highlighted is the practice of emphasising ease of use and purchase, yet omitting the risks of investing in digital assets.

For instance, Coinbase was reprimanded by the regulator for a paid Facebook ad which appeared earlier this year stating that “£5 in Bitcoin in 2010 would be worth £100,000 in January 2021.”

“Consumers need to know about the risks of investing in cryptoassets and companies should make sure that their ads aren’t misleading or socially irresponsible by taking advantage of consumers’ lack of awareness around these complex and volatile products,” said Lockwood. “We won’t hesitate to take action against ads that break our rules. We encourage anyone with any concerns about ads they’ve seen to get in touch.”

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