UK Watchdog Set to (Re)Target 'Misleading' Crypto Investment Marketing
The UK’s advertising watchdog Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is set to take a swing at what it perceives as misleading marketing related to cryptoassets, with a major initiative expected to be launched already this month to take down such ads.
While the watchdog’s focus is said to be on online- and social media-based ads, the effort is part of a larger movement among the country’s regulators to prevent investors from harm by involvement in some of the unregulated digital assets, it said.
"We see this as an absolutely crucial and priority area for us," Miles Lockwood, ASA's director of complaints and investigations, told The Financial Times. "Where we find problems we will crack down hard and fast."
Louise Maroney who is in charge of financial complaints at the ASA, added that there are certain types of media that the self-regulatory organization hasn't been able "to address fully until now."
Lockwood said the ASA has identified crypto-related ads as a “red alert” priority within the financial industry, and companies that will be handed warnings could be required to include relevant disclaimers on their ads in the UK.
The country’s financial regulator Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has already taken a tough approach to some crypto businesses in this respect - among others, by ordering the London Underground last year to take down advertisements for startup Zeux, a company that uses stablecoins as part of a high-interest savings offering.
In another sign of its mistrust towards cryptoassets, the UK financial regulator has also issued warnings to crypto investors, saying they “should be prepared to lose all their money,” per the FT.
For its part, last May, as reported, the ASA criticized crypto platform Luno for its ads displayed on London public transport in which the company used the tagline: “If you’re seeing bitcoin on the Underground, it’s time to buy.” It claimed those ads were misleading and irresponsible, stating that investing in volatile digital assets is risky.