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Misleading crypto ads to be targeted by UK watchdog

Misleading crypto ads to be targeted by UK watchdog

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is set to issue a crackdown on misleading cryptocurrency advertisements.

The ASA's action was prompted by the ad campaign launched by crypto exchange firm Luno which featured the  strapline "If you're seeing bitcoin on the Underground, it's time to buy" next to a Bitcoin logo on the London Underground and on the side of buses.

The ASA ruled that Luno's ad gave the impression that investing in bitcoin was "straightforward and accessible" and failed to include warnings that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have no consumer protections.

The ASA has since stated that monitoring the marketing campaigns of unregulated crypto trading platforms will be one of its key priorities.

“We see this as an absolutely crucial and priority area for us,” said Miles Lockwood, director of complaints and investigations at ASA, speaking to the Financial Times. “Where we do find problems we will crack down hard and fast.”

One target for the watchdog are various social media accounts that push crypto ventures without declaring the financial risks around investment

Meanwhile the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has continued to issue warnings to consumers of the investment risk around unregulated cryptocurrencies.

It also flagged concerns around crypto advertising as far back as 2018 as part of the work done by the Cryptoassets workforce, a body involving the Treasury and the Bank of England as well as the FCA. 

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