ASA upholds complaints about promotion of unregulated cryptoassets

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld two separate complaints relating to the promotion of unregulated cryptoassets.

The first related to a Facebook post and website for Arsenal Football Club PLC. ASA challenged the advertisements on 3 bases:

  1. both were irresponsible because they took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity and trivialised investment in cryptoassets;
  2. both were misleading due to failing to illustrate the risk of the investment; and
  3. the Facebook post was misleading because it didn’t make clear that a ‘token’ it referred to was a cryptoasset, which could only be obtained by exchanging with another cryptocurrency which had to be purchased.

The complaint was upheld on all 3 of these bases and the ASA told Arsenal Football Club PLC that the advertisements must not appear again in the form complained about, and they must ensure that future advertisements do not trivialise investment in cryptoassets, nor irresponsibly take advantage of consumers’ lack of knowledge or mislead customers by omitting material information in their advertisements.

The second complaint related to a paid-for Reddit advertisement for Skrill Ltd, an online wallet and money transfer service. ASA challenged this advertisement on 2 bases:

  1. the promotion was irresponsible because it took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity; and
  2. the advertisement was misleading because it failed to illustrate the risk of investing in cryptocurrencies.

The complaint was upheld on both bases and the ASA told Skrill Ltd broadly the same as what it told Arsenal.


Emma Bond