UK bans misleading Bitcoin ads on buses

Luno Bitcoin Ad

A Bitcoin campaign put up on London buses and across the London Underground network has come under the radar of regulatory authorities in the United Kingdom.

The “Time to buy Bitcoin” ads are the work of the cryptocurrency exchange Luno.

And the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has yanked these ads, with the UK advertising regulator saying that these advertisements are misleading and irresponsible — which they technically are, because of a number of reasons.

The ads contained and image of a bitcoin with the words “If you are seeing Bitcoin on a bus, it’s time to buy” or “If you are seeing Bitcoin on the Underground, it’s time to buy”.

Luno Bitcoin Ad Bus

They were put up in February.

The ASA said that it received four complaints, with three of them believing that the ad failed to illustrate the risk of the investment and challenged whether it was misleading. One complaint challenged whether the ad took advantage of consumer’s inexperience of credulity.

ASA noted:

“We understood that neither Luno nor the bitcoin market in general was regulated within the UK, and therefore consumers could not seek recourse to services such as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or the Financial Ombudsman Service.”

The regulator also said that the ad made it sound like buying Bitcoin is easy and straightforward, with the advertisements targeted at the general public who were likely to be inexperienced at trading cryptocurrencies

That is to say, the ad violated social responsibility and financial product rules.

Therefore, ASA concluded that the ad was misleading.

Luno Bitcoin Ad Underground

Luno Money, which put up the ads, told the ASA that the ads would not appear again in the form complained about, adding that their future advertisements would feature an appropriate risk warning for the general public.

All’s well that ends in a well, I always say.

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