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Seven ads banned in cryptocurrency advertising clampdown

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Written by: Emma Lunn
15/12/2021
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned seven separate adverts for cryptocurrency firms.

The specific reasons for the promotions being outlawed by the watchdog varied from being irresponsible or misleading, taking advantage of customers’ inexperience, and failing to communicate the risk of investment.

The banned ads included paid-for ads, social media posts, a digital poster, in-app ads and a YouTube video.

The companies whose adverts were found to have broken the rules were:

  • Coinburp
  • eToro (UK)
  • Payward
  • Exmo Exchange
  • Luno Money
  • Coinbase Europe
  • Papa John’s GB

A Twitter page for Coinburp, a cryptocurrency trading platform, seen on 26 July 2021, included a bio section which stated: “Register in minutes, deposit instantly, then make super-easy and secure crypto trades”.

The ASA found the ad to be irresponsible because it took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity; and misleading because it failed to illustrate the risk of the investment.

A paid-for Facebook ad for Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, seen on 27 July 2021, included text which stated “£5 in #Bitcoin in 2010 would be worth over £100,000 in January 2021. Don’t miss out on the next decade – get started on Coinbase today”. The ASA found the ad to be irresponsible and misleading for the same reasons as the Coinburp ad.

Pizza company Papa John’s offered free Bitcoin “worth £10” when customers spent £30 on a pizza. As part of the promotion a consumer would have to set up an account with Luno, a cryptocurrency exchange. Learn more by checking the latest Funfair News.

Papa John’s said it had a long running association with cryptocurrency, which dated back to May 2010 when it was believed that Bitcoin had been first used to buy two Papa John’s pizzas.

The ASA told Papa John’s it must not irresponsibly take advantage of consumers’ lack of experience or credulity and trivialise investment in cryptocurrency with its promotions.

Miles Lockwood, the ASA’s director of complaints and investigations, 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.”

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