Indian advertising watchdog issues mandatory guidelines for the advertisement of crypto and NFTs

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February 28, 2022

By Sharan Kaur Phillora

The advertising industry’s self-governing body ASCI (Advertising Standard Council of India) has released guidelines for the promotion and advertisement of crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), amid growing concerns over their sustained targeting of retail investors.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) said on Wednesday that all virtual digital asset (VDA) products and services should carry the disclaimer: “Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions.”
  • It further said such disclaimers should be prominent and unmissable to an average consumer. ASCI also specified how the disclaimer should look in the print, video, and audio format as well as social media posts and stories.
  • Advertisers have also been warned against using the words “currency”, “securities” and “depositories” while advertising VDA products and services because ASCI says consumers associate those terms with regulated products. The information contained in advertisements shouldn’t contradict the information or warnings that regulated entities provide to customers.
  • “We had several rounds of discussion with the government, finance sector regulators, and industry stakeholders before framing these guidelines,” said Subhash Kamath, chairman of ASCI.
  • “Advertising of virtual digital assets and services needs specific guidance, considering that this is a new and as yet an emerging way of investing. Hence, there is a need to make consumers aware of the risks and ask them to proceed with caution,” Kamat added.

Other ASCI rules on cryptocurrency ads:

  • Information on past performance shall not be provided in any partial or biased manner. Returns for periods of less than 12 months shall not be included.
  • Every advertisement for VDA products must clearly give out the name of the advertiser and provide an easy way to contact them (phone number or email). This information should be presented in a manner that is easily understood by the average consumer.
  • No advertisement for VDA products or exchanges may show a minor, or someone who appears to be minor, directly dealing with the product, or talking about the product.
  • No advertisement may show that VDA products or VDA trading could be a solution to money problems, personality problems, or other such drawbacks.
  • No advertisement shall contain statements that promise or guarantee a future increase in profits.
  • The guidelines will be applicable to all advertisements released or published after 1 April 2022. Earlier advertisements shouldn’t appear in the public domain after 15 April 2022 unless they comply with the new guidelines.


About the author

Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.

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