UK watchdog sends notice to 50 crypto companies over misleading ads

By Priyanka Shetty

The U.K.’s advertising regulator, ‘The Advertising Standards Authority’ sent an enforcement notice to more than 50 companies as part of a regulatory crackdown on promotions in the industry.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The ASA enforcement issued on Tuesday said, all promotions should clearly and prominently state that crypto assets are unregulated in the U.K., that any profits may be subject to capital gains tax and that the value of crypto investments can go down as well as up. This includes ads in press and magazine outlets, TV, emails, outdoor posters, in promoted social media posts and via paid agreements with influencers. It also threatened firms with targeted sanctions if “problem ads” persist after May 2.
  • “Crypto has exploded in popularity in recent years,” Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA, said in a statement. “We’re concerned that people might be enticed by ads into investing money they can’t afford to lose, without understanding the risks.”
  • The ASA didn’t name the companies it has contacted, but said, “this is a ‘red alert’ priority issue for us and we’ve recently banned several crypto ads for misleading consumers and for being socially irresponsible. As part of this, we are working closely alongside the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to take action against those who appear unable or unwilling to abide by the rules.”
  • Separately, a deadline for crypto firms to be registered with the FCA is set to elapse on Mar. 13. A number of companies, including Revolut and Copper, face the prospect of having to wind down their crypto operations in the U.K. if their application is not approved in time.
  • “We will continue to work closely with the ASA to tackle unclear or misleading crypto advertising,” said Sarah Pritchard, the FCA’s executive director of markets, in a statement attached to the ASA’s enforcement notice.


About the author

Based in Bengaluru, Priyanka Shetty is a freelance writer for Blockchain Asset Review.


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