Insights Advertising Standards Authority publishes statement on crypto-assets

The ASA says that it is aware that people are concerned about crypto-asset advertising, particularly regarding cryptocurrencies and “non-fungible tokens” (NFTs). The ASA says that this is a “red alert” priority issue, and it is taking action.

The ASA notes that crypto-assets have exploded in popularity in recent years, but that there is a real danger that people may be drawn in to invest life savings that they later lose, based on poor understanding. The ASA recognises the important role it plays in regulating ads to ensure they do not mislead consumers about a product’s risks or act irresponsibly in their promotion.

Therefore, it is currently investigating a number of crypto-asset ads across different media, where it has concerns about:

  • lack of appropriate risk warnings;
  • the trivialisation of investments in cryptocurrency;
  • ads taking advantage of consumers’ inexperience or incredulity; and
  • irresponsible advertising (e.g., creating a sense of urgency to invest).

The ASA will be setting out its expectations of crypto-asset advertising through these rulings, which it expects to publish in mid-December. It will then carry out proactive monitoring and enforcement to tackle non-compliant ads for crypto-assets.

The ASA recognises that there is a clear separation between ads for legal crypto investments and illegitimate scam ads. On the latter, the ASA is already taking action where it can to disrupt online scams through its Scam Ad Alert system, which was set up in partnership with the major digital advertising and social media platforms, including Facebook and Google, to help tackle bogus ads that leave consumers out of pocket, specifically online paid-for ads linking to fraudulent content, particularly crypto investment.

The ASA says that it will continue to review its policies around crypto-asset advertising and make sure that the rules are always protecting consumers. To read the ASA’s statement in full, click here.