The UK Advertising Authority supports complaints about a bitcoin advertisement published in the newspaper by the cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX.
The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) explained in an article that it objected to an advertisement published on January 3, 2019, which showed the price performance of Bitcoin in graphical form.
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The article states:
“This ad spans two layouts and shows a chart. The horizontal axis is at six months, showing the date between January 2009 and January 2019. The vertical axis is labeled 'Bitcoin USD Price '- Increased from $0.0001 to $100,000. This figure depicts the skyrocketing value of bitcoin after July 2010."
“From July 2017 to January 2018, the highest record on the chart exceeded $10,000. The text in the upper left corner reads 'January 3, 2009, ten years ago today, Bitcoin blockchain The first block refers to the front page of The Times. 'The upper right corner says 'January 3, 2019 has proved to be a big day.' The text in the lower right corner of the chart reads 'Source: Blockchain. Com'."
In response to this ad, ASA received four complaints all accusing the ad of being misleading, either because it exaggerated the return on Bitcoin investment or failed to explain the risk of investing in the cryptocurrency.
BitMEX responded that the purpose of the chart is to provide information rather than selling or promoting the cryptocurrency or any other product. The company added that the ad is a form of activity that celebrates the 10th anniversary of the birth of Bitcoin.
Despite this, ASA believes that the range of values used in the chart may be misunderstood by a broad audience lacking expertise. The organization also said that BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes mentioned that Bitcoin "is still largely an experiment" and that other statements are not sufficient to account for the investment risks involved.
Because of this, the ASA stated that the ad violated multiple criteria and therefore stipulated that it should not reappear in its current form.
This is not the first time that cryptocurrency and the advertising world have collided.
Facebook banned cryptocurrency-related ads in January last year, and technology giant Google followed closely, announcing plans to impose a ban in March.
Twitter also banned ICO-related advertising.