Cryptocurrency company criticised over “misleading” advertisements

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A CRYPTOCURRENCY company received three complaints about an advert featured in the London underground.

The Luno Money Ltd advert said: “If you’re seeing Bitcoin on the Underground, it’s time to buy”. 

The complaints did not believe that the advert appropriately warned people about the risks of cryptocurrency, and said: “the ad failed to illustrate the risk of the investment.” they also “challenged whether it was misleading.”

Bitcoin - Business News Scotland
Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash. One of the complaints also questioned: “whether the ad took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity.”

According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA): “Luno Money Ltd said that the ads would not appear again in the form complained about.

“They said that their future ads would feature an appropriate risk warning.”

The ad appeared across the London Underground and London Buses networks, which were untargeted media.

Bitcoin - Business News Scotland (1)
Photo by André François McKenzie on Unsplash. It is likely that the advert was seen by consumers who did not have financial knowledge and experience of Bitcoin.

The ASA said: “While we welcomed Luno’s assurance that their future ads would feature risk warnings to consumers, at the time the ad appeared it had not featured any risk warning making sufficiently clear to consumers that the value of Bitcoin could go down as well as up, or that the Bitcoin market was unregulated in the UK.

“We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.”

The ASA added: “We considered that consumers would interpret the statement “it’s time to buy” as a call to action and that the simplicity of the statement gave the impression that Bitcoin investment was straightforward and accessible.

“We understood that Bitcoin investment was complex, volatile, and could expose investors to losses and considered that stood in contrast to the impression given by the ad, that investment was simple and conventional.

“For that reason, we concluded that the ad irresponsibly suggested that engaging in Bitcoin investment through Luno was straightforward and easy, particularly given that the audience it addressed, the general public, were likely to be inexperienced in their understanding of cryptocurrencies, and was therefore in breach of the Code.”

London Underground - Business News Scotland
Photo by Max Patel on Unsplash. The ads must not appear again in the form complained about.

Luno Money Ltd was told to ensure that their future marketing communications made clear that the value of investments in Bitcoin was variable and could go down as well as up.

They also have to make clear that Luno Money Ltd and the Bitcoin market were unregulated, and that they did not irresponsibly take advantage of consumers’ lack of experience by implying that Bitcoin investment was straightforward or accessible.

Bitcoin value has dropped drastically recently as Elon Musk said that he would no longer be accepting Bitcoin for Tesla cars.

He did this over worries about the environmental impact of the cryptocurrency.

After the businessman announced this Bitcoin’s value dropped by 17%.