Advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority, has issued a warning to crypto firms ahead of a tightening of  regulations in the UK. 

New regulations are set to hone in on ‘misleading and irresponsible’ ads involving digital currency in the country, as it continues to grow in engagement and expand with new coins. 

The ASA underlined in its latest notice that all new crypto ads will be subject to stringent guidance, with potential reports to the FCA following for persistent offenders. 

Advertising Standards Authority Chief Executive, Guy Parker, offered the following statement: “Crypto has exploded in popularity in recent years. We’re concerned that people might be enticed by ads into investing money they can’t afford to lose, without understanding the risks. Working alongside the FCA, we’ll take strong action against any advertiser who fails to ensure that their ads are responsible.”

Described a ‘red alert’ priority issue for the ASA, the body emphasised it has come off the back of the banning of several crypto ads for misleading consumers and for being socially irresponsible. 

The notice applies to ads for cryptocurrencies, crypto exchanges and ads or promotions which otherwise involve the transfer, sale or supply of cryptocurrencies, targeted at UK consumers or that are targeted globally on behalf of UK-based advertisers.

Executive Director of Markets at the FCA, Sarah Pritchard, added: “We will continue to work closely with the ASA to tackle unclear or misleading crypto advertising. People should be wary of any promotion promising high investment returns and do further research before investing, including through the FCA’s InvestSmart website. Crypto assets remain unregulated and those who invest in them should be prepared to lose all their money.

Mapping out the key details of the Enforcement Notice, the group outlined the following guidance to the crypto industry on how to abide by regulations – stating adverts and marketing should: 

  • should clearly state that cryptocurrencies are unregulated in the UK and that the value of investments are variable and can go down
  • must not state or imply that investment decisions are trivial, simple, easy or suitable for anyone
  • must not imply a sense of urgency to buy or create a fear of missing out, or that investments are ‘low risk’