The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned six cryptocurrency services, as well as pizza chain Papa John's, for "taking advantage of consumers' ignorance" with digital currencies. eToro, Coinbase, CoinBurp, Payward, Exmo Exchange, and Luno Money are among the crypto platforms that have come under criticism from the government for failing to "illustrate the danger of investment" in cryptocurrencies.
Papa John's was chastised for touting its association with cryptocurrency exchange Luno on its website and Twitter account. "Free Bitcoin worth £10" was advertised on the Papa John's website, and the business provided "Free Bitcoin worth £10" for every pizza purchased through their "£15 off when you spend £30" deal on Twitter. Despite not attempting to persuade clients to invest, customers were required to establish a Luno account as part of the offer.
Customers who took part in a campaign tied to pizza purchases were more likely to be inexperienced in their understanding of cryptocurrencies and the hazards that come with them, according to the ASA. The regulator also pointed out that the advertisements did not include any bitcoin risk warnings.
Meanwhile, Coinbase was fined for a Facebook ad that claimed that "£5 in #Bitcoin in 2010 will be worth over £100,000 in January 2021." Don't lose out on the next ten years — sign up for Coinbase now." The ad also included bullet points claiming that the cryptocurrency was "simple and straightforward to use," "never hacked," and "reliable."
The ASA, on the other hand, barred the ad for failing to provide a risk warning that informed consumers that the value of cryptocurrencies might rise or fall. The ASA deemed the advertising "misleading" since bitcoin is presently unregulated in the UK. Miles Lockwood says cryptocurrencies are a "red alert" priority for the regulator and that further rulings will influence its enforcement efforts in the coming weeks to "bring all crypto assets marketing into line" with its rules.
The organization will continue to examine crypto advertisements while also expanding its reach to include advertisements for non-fungible coins (NFTs). "Consumers need to understand the hazards of investing in crypto assets, and corporations should ensure that their advertisements aren't deceptive or socially irresponsible by preying on people's lack of knowledge about these complicated and volatile items," Lockwood adds.
"We will not hesitate to take action against advertisements that violate our policies." Anyone with issues about advertising they've seen is encouraged to contact us." Despite authorities' warnings that such products might quickly lose value, some 2.3 million individuals in the UK are thought to own cryptocurrencies. According to the Financial Conduct Authority, the average value of crypto wallets increased from £260 a year ago to £300 in 2021.
"Register in minutes, deposit instantaneously, then execute super-easy and safe crypto transactions," said a Twitter profile for cryptocurrency trading site Coinburp, according to the ASA. In the absence of any other information in the ad, consumers would understand the claim to suggest that investing in bitcoin was simple, and the ad didn't make it clear that cryptocurrency is unregulated, according to the ASA judgment.