- On March 17, 2021, the UK Advertising Standards Authority or ASA made a statement about banning a “socially irresponsible” advertisement by Coinfloor on Bitcoin investment.
- The ad came up on December 3, 2020, in the Northamptonshire Telegraph, portraying investing in Bitcoin as a safe investment for retirees.
- Despite Coinfloor’s defense on using a disclaimer, ASA upheld the complaint saying that the disclaimer was not clear enough and did not mention the potential market ups and downs of Bitcoin.
The cryptocurrency industry got stirred up recently when the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned a Bitcoin advertisement by Coinfloor (cryptocurrency exchange), referring to it as “misleading” and “socially irresponsible.”
ASA declared on March 17, 2021 (Wednesday) that the featured ad in the Northamptonshire Telegraph on Dec. 3, 2020, made a misleading impression by encouraging elderly people to invest in Bitcoin through Coinfloor’s BTC savings portfolio.
It was alleged that the ad mainly targeted retirees and had misleading content. The ad had the title “There is no point keeping your money in the bank…” and displayed an image of an elderly woman and clarified her decision to convert a portion of her pension into Bitcoin.
The UK Ad Watchdog Pulled Up the Ad Maker for “Insufficient” Disclaimer
The ASA snubbed the ad saying that it was “socially irresponsible” because it portrayed an image that buying Bitcoin was a lucrative or safer way to invest a person’s pension or savings into it.
The advertising watchdog further added the accuser who challenged the ad, saying that it targeted retired individuals and was misleading. The ad never clarified the risks of market fluctuations, which are part and parcel when investing in cryptocurrency.
In its defense, Coinfloor said that there was a disclaimer at the bottom of the advertisement in small fonts, which said, “Investing in cryptocurrencies involves significant risk and can result in the loss of your invested capital. You should not invest more than you can afford to lose.”
According to ASA, the disclaimer was not sufficient enough to offset the overall content. Besides, the font size and the ad’s positioning were not presented prominently enough to make customers aware that they have to bear the risk of losing their capital.
The bottom line is, even though pension funds can incorporate crypto into their portfolios, it is important to inform investors about the potential market fluctuations of the crypto market, which happens quite often.
ASA Upholds the Complaint
After ASA’s verdict, Coinfloor tried to clarify that the elderly woman in the ad was a customer who expressed her personal views on investing in Bitcoin, which was not portraying Coinfloor’s view.
The ASA upheld the allegation and further said that the ad did not make it “sufficiently clear” that Bitcoin prices could up and go down since the cryptocurrency market is unregulated in the UK. ASA also suggested that showing the purchase of Bitcoin as a secure way of investing people’s savings or pension was a breach of advertising rules.
Finally, the ASA put the final nail saying that the ad must not show up again in its current form. Any future advertisements by Coinfloor must clarify the fact that investing in Bitcoin may have its downside too. Upcoming Coinfloor ads should never suggest irresponsibly that Bitcoin is a safe investment for pensioners.