- Cryptocurrency ads banned due to ‘red alert’ focus on consumer awareness of the “complex and volatile” products.
- Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has declared that monitoring crypto assets, such as Bitcoin, are a “red-alert priority.”
Advertisements from trading platforms eToro and Coinburp and advertisements for cryptocurrency exchange firms Payward, Exmo Exchange, Luno Money, and Coinbase Europe have been banned for irresponsibly exploiting consumers’ inexperience and failing to illustrate the risk of the investment.
Following concerns that many advertisements fail to convey the risks of investing entirely, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has declared that monitoring crypto assets, such as Bitcoin, is a “red-alert priority.” A pizza chain’s promotion and Facebook ads for a large cryptocurrency exchange were among the prohibited ads.
The Companies Whose Ads were Found to have Broken the Rules were:
- Coinburp: A Twitter page for Coinburp, a cryptocurrency trading platform.
- eToro (UK): A paid-for display ad for eToro, a stocks and cryptocurrency trading platform.
- Payward: A digital poster for Kraken, an online cryptocurrency exchange.
- Exmo Exchange: A YouTube video promoting cryptocurrency exchange Exmo
- Luno Money: An in-app ad for Luno, a cryptocurrency exchange service.
- Coinbase Europe: A paid-for Facebook ad for Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange platform.
- Papa John’s GB: A promotion on the Papa John’s pizza restaurant chain’s website and a Twitter post.
A Papa John’s pizza chain website promotion and a Twitter post promoting cryptocurrency were banned for the same reasons. In May, a website advertisement for Papa John’s stated,
“Free Bitcoin worth £10” and “Save £15 when you spend £30 or more and get £10 worth of Bitcoin from Luno!”
A tweet on the Papa John’s Twitter page, posted on May 14, stated:
“We’ve partnered with @LunoGlobal to offer FREE Bitcoin worth £10 for every pizza bought via our ‘£15 off when you spend £30′” and “Turn Pizza into £10 worth of Bitcoin.”
Papa John’s stated that they have a long history with cryptocurrency, dating back to May 2010, when it was believed that Bitcoin was first used to purchase two Papa John’s pizzas.
The chain acknowledged that some customers would be more knowledgeable about cryptocurrency than others. Still, because of their long history with Bitcoin, they believed their collaboration with Luno would not be perceived as unusual. The collaboration itself did not comment on cryptocurrency or its suitability for investment.
On the other hand, the Advertising Standards Authority stated that using pizza to promote a cryptocurrency account encouraged consumers to engage in a high-risk investment without due consideration and trivialized a severe and potentially costly financial decision, especially given the intended audience’s likely lack of cryptocurrency knowledge.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) stated that the seven bans were imposed due to proactive monitoring of crypto-asset ads and are part of a larger project that will eventually shape specific guidance around advertising these products in 2022. The ASA also stated that it would continue to review crypto-asset advertisements in the coming months for cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and fan tokens, contributing to future enforcement and guidance for advertisers.
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) director of complaints and investigations Miles Lockwood said that,
“Cryptoassets are a red-alert priority issue for us, so we’re conducting proactive monitoring and interventions where we find issues. Our rulings published today and over the next few weeks will shape follow-up enforcement work in the new year to bring all cryptoassets ads into line with our expectations and will form the basis of updated guidance. 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. 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.”