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ASA lays down crypto rules around risk, urgency, trivialization and incredulity

The ASA has issued a ‘red alert’ over the current crypto-asset advertising craze

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued a ‘red alert’ for crypto-asset advertising amid concerns that people could lose their life savings. The organization has now laid out some rules for those in the space to adhere to.

A rapidly-spreading craze for cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has forced the regulator to act to ensure associated advertising does not mislead investors about the financial risks attached to the exploding market.

A shift in priorities has seen the ASA investigate crypto-asset ads across a range of media, which have drawn concerns over a lack of appropriate warnings and the trivialization of potentially life-altering sums of money.

Of particular concern for the ad body is a temptation to take advantage of consumer inexperience or incredulity, as well as irresponsible advertising such as the promotion of artificial investment deadlines to create a false sense of urgency.

Declaring crypto-advertising to be a “priority issue,” the ASA stated: “In all of this, there is a clear separation between ads for legal crypto investments and illegitimate scam ads. On the latter, we are already taking action where we can to disrupt online scams through our Scam Ad Alert system. This 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 will rule on these live cases by mid-December, with a pledge to continue proactive monitoring and ongoing enforcement action against non-compliant ads.

In recent months an explosion in cryptocurrency ads has pushed crypto into the mainstream with a little help from celebrities such as American film director Spike Lee, the current face of Coin Cloud.

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