The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned seven crypto ads for conveying "misleading" messages, including leading cryptocurrency brokerage firm, eToro, and the popular pizza brand, Papa John's.
According to a recent report, the ASA noted that these ads were "irresponsibly taking advantage of consumers' inexperience" and also failed "to illustrate the risk of the investment".
The regulatory body blasted six cryptocurrency platforms, including eToro, Coinburp, Kraken's Payward, Luno, Exmo, and Coinbase Europe.
'Irresponsible' and 'Misleading' Messages
The ASA banned a paid-for display eToro ad on the Yahoo Finance website, which was discovered to include texts like "Invest in the world’s top cryptos with one click" and "Discover eToro’s unique BitcoinWorldwide offering, a ready-made portfolio, holding the world’s leading crypto assets".
While eToro argued that its ad did not in any way suggest that investing in crypto is easy, claiming that the " one-click" on the ad was referring to the diversified crypto portfolio it automatically offers users, the ASA did not share its sentiments.
The regulatory body noted that ignorant customers could understand it literally, thinking that cryptocurrency investing is very simple, which it reiterated is completely false.
In the case of Coinbase, the crypto exchange's ad, which was seen on Facebook, contained highly misleading messages, stating that cryptocurrencies were "trusted", "simple and easy to use", and had " never been hacked".
The ASA took the ad down for not warning investors of the potential risks involved in investing in crypto, including their extremely volatile nature and the rise of crypto-related hacks in recent times.
The other banned ads had also defaulted in the same manner. The regulator pointed out that cryptocurrencies are still not regulated in the UK, therefore, those ads were misleading.
ASA to Intensify Crackdown on Crypto Ads
Following the surge in crypto ads, including the "aggressive" promotion of the memecoin, Floki Inu, on London buses and Undergrounds, the ASA has intensified its efforts to crack down on misleading crypto ads.
With this latest development, the regulatory body revealed that it plans to bring in every type of crypto ad under its surveillance, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The director of complaints and investigations at ASA, Miles Lockwood, said, "Consumers need to know about the risks of investing in crypto-assets 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."
He added, “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."