The UK watchdog has prohibited cryptocurrency advertisements for failing to highlight the risks.
- The ads were "banned for irresponsibly taking advantage of consumers' inexperience and failing to illustrate the risk of the investment," according to the Advertising Standards Authority.
- A pizza chain's website and Twitter post were among the banned ads, as well as a digital poster from a crypto exchange.
- eToro, Coinburp, Coinbase Europe, Luno Money, Exmo Exchange, Payward, and Papa John's GB are among the companies targeted by the bans.
On Wednesday, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) issued a ban on seven cryptocurrency advertisements, stating that they must not appear again.
The ads were "banned for irresponsibly taking advantage of consumers' inexperience and failing to illustrate the risk of the investment," according to the Advertising Standards Authority.
A pizza chain's website and Twitter post were among the banned ads, as well as a digital poster from a crypto exchange.
Crypto exchanges and crypto trading platforms were responsible for the majority of the blocked adverts.
eToro, Coinburp, Coinbase Europe, Luno Money, Exmo Exchange, Payward, and Papa John's GB are among the companies affected by the prohibitions.
Papa John’s bitcoin ad
"Free bitcoin worth £10 [$13]" was advertised on Papa John's website, along with "Save £15 when you spend £30 or more & get £10 worth of Bitcoin from Luno!" Similar to the Facebook ad was the Twitter ad.
The advertising, according to Papa John's, were part of an annual celebration of "Bitcoin pizza day," which commemorates the day in May 2010 when two Papa John's pizzas were purchased for 10,000 bitcoins. The same number of bitcoins would be worth $482 million today.
The pizza company claimed that the advertisement made no mention of bitcoin investment and that the offering was just a way for consumers to obtain free bitcoin.
The offer, however, "trivialised" a "serious and potentially costly financial decision," according to the ASA.
"We considered that the majority of persons who participated in a promotion tied to buying pizza were likely to be inexperienced in their grasp of cryptocurrencies and the hazards associated with doing so," it stated. "We also saw that there were no bitcoin risk warnings in the marketing."
"£5 in bitcoin in 2010 would be worth over £100,000 in January 2021," according to a paid Facebook ad by Coinbase. Don't lose out on the next decade — sign up for Coinbase right now.""Buy bitcoin in 5 minutes for as little as £25" said the ad, which also used the word "unregulated."
In its ruling, the ASA said that the ad was fraudulent because it claimed that bitcoin's value would rise at a similar rate over the next decade and did not make it clear that past performance was not necessarily a guide for the future.
"Cryptoassets are a red-alert priority concern for us," said Miles Lockwood, the watchdog's director of complaints and investigations.
"Customers need to understand the hazards of investing in cryptoassets, and corporations should ensure that their advertisements aren't deceptive or socially irresponsible by using consumers' lack of knowledge about these complex and volatile products," he added.
The ASA has previously prohibited crypto advertisements. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) prohibited an ad campaign in May encouraging individuals in the United Kingdom that "it's time to acquire" bitcoin.
This year, posters for cryptocurrency trading firm Luno were displayed on the London Underground and buses, featuring a cartoon image of a bitcoin and the slogan "If you see Bitcoin on the Underground, it's time to buy."
The advertising watchdog says it received four complaints against the commercial. Three of them came from people who said the ad was misleading since it failed to show the risk of the investment. One person claimed that the advertisement took advantage of the consumer's lack of experience or credulity.