Bitcoin Ads Banned by UK Advertising Watchdog

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  • Bitcoin adverts that appeared on London’s public transport system in February have been banned by the UK’s advertising watchdog.
  • Luno had placed adverts advising the public to buy Bitcoin across the London public transport network
  • The Advertising Standards Agency acted following complaints that the risks of Bitcoin weren’t explained

Bitcoin adverts that appeared on London’s public transport system have been banned by the UK’s advertising watchdog. Cryptocurrency platform Luno put posters in London Underground stations and on London’s famous red buses in February, informing the public that it was “time to buy” bitcoin. However, the adverts have been taken down after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received complaints that the posters failed to illustrate the risk involved and targeted those without financial experience.

Adverts Failed to Inform Users of Risk

The adverts in question appeared across London’s transport network three months ago, but it didn’t take long for them to attract the ire of the public. In its ruling, which was delivered yesterday, the ASA noted that it received three complaints on two fronts:

  • The ad “failed to illustrate the risk of the investment” and suggested it could be misleading
  • The ad “took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity”

The ASA upheld both of these complaints, stating that the suggestion that it was “time to buy” bitcoin could be interpreted as “a reference to buying Bitcoin as an investment”, which was an unsafe assumption to make based on its notorious price fluctuations. It also ruled that the ad was “likely to have been seen by consumers who did not have extensive financial knowledge and experience of Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin Ads Not the ASA’s Cup of Tea

The decision by the ASA is the second this year regarding Bitcoin adverts in the UK. In March it banned an ad by exchange Coinfloor who told Northamptonshire Telegraph readers that there was “no point in keeping your money in the bank”, stating that cryptocurrencies were a better investment. This was banned on similar grounds, despite a disclaimer being present.