UK regulator bans ‘misleading' bitcoin ad from London Underground

The bitcoin logo on a white and dark gold background

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has yanked Luno Money Ltd.’s “misleading” bitcoin advertisement from the London Underground and London Buses networks. The ASA said it had received three complaints which said the ads failed to alert users to the risk of investing their money into bitcoin.

Ads in London Underground stations read “If you’re seeing Bitcoin on the Underground, it’s time to buy.” and those on buses read “If you’re seeing bitcoin on a bus, it’s time to buy.” Both of the slogans were accompanied by a cartoon bitcoin logo and the Google Play and App Store logos where the app is available. Nowhere on the banned ad does it mention that investors could lose money if they buy bitcoin through Luno.

The ASA also said that the ad made it sound like buying bitcoin is easy and straightforward. It said the ads were targeted at the general public who were likely to be inexperienced at trading cryptocurrencies and with the lack of warnings, it said the ad violated social responsibility and financial products rules.

If Luno wants to put out any more bitcoin ads, the ASA said they need to alert consumers that investments can go up or down and that the bitcoin market is unregulated and therefore doesn’t offer the same protections that people may be used to with other investments.

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