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ASA bans cryptocurrency ads for failing to advertise risk

The Advertising Standards Agency has banned a number of cryptocurrency ads in the UK for failing to advertise the risk they may pose to consumers.

A lack of foresight

In the UK, the country’s advertising watchdog has banned several cryptocurrency ads and warned them not to reappear at a later date. It confirmed that the ads in question had been “banned for irresponsibly taking advantage of consumers’ inexperience and for failing to illustrate the risk of the investment.”
It included a post from a well-known pizza chain and a digital poster from a cryptocurrency exchange with the vast majority posted from either a cryptocurrency exchange or cryptocurrency trading platform. It was later revealed that the companies targeted in the ban included eToro, Exco Exchange, Luno Money, Coinbase Europe, CoinBurp, Payward, and Papa John’s UK.
It was Papa John’s UK, in particular, however, that found themselves in hot water after giving customers the opportunity to win free cryptocurrency in celebration of Bitcoin Pizza Day or the anniversary of the date when a customer paid for pizza with 10,000 Bitcoins in May 2010 which is the equivalent of $482 million (£364 million) today.

Not the first time

In a statement, ASA’s Director of Complaints and Investigations, Miles Lockwood, said: “Cryptoassets are a red-alert priority issue for us. 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.”
It comes just months after the ASA banned a series of cryptocurrency ads posted on the London Underground in May this year for encouraging UK consumers to buy cryptocurrency on the grounds that it was irresponsible.