Bitcoin ad fined for targeting inexperienced consumers

A Bitcoin ad targeting UK consumers has been fined by the Advertising Standards Agency for taking advantage of consumers’ lack of experience.  

The advertisement by Luno, a company which also operates in Australia, was found by the ASA to have failed to illustrate the risks of investing in Bitcoin.  

This “took advantage of consumers” by implying it was straightforward to do so when, in fact, cryptocurrencies were complex and difficult to value. They were also unregulated which meant investors had little protection against fraud and were vulnerable to cyber-fraud. 

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Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Companies which offer crypto-assets with lofty promises to investors are coming under intense scrutiny, with regulators becoming increasingly concerned about the risks that these types of investment can pose to consumers. 

“The US Federal Reserve has indicated that it thinks tougher regulation may be needed. In the UK the Financial Conduct Authority has told investors they could lose all their money if they indulge in cryptocurrency speculation. The ASA is another regulator with crypto in its sights, ready to censure more firms if they don’t stick to strict codes of conduct.’’ 

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