• The UK's advertising regulator has warned over 50 companies with crypto ads not to mislead consumers.
  • Failure to comply with rules will lead to strong action, the ASA said Tuesday, continuing its clampdown.
  • The issue is a "red alert" priority for the watchdog, which has banned promos from Crypto.com and Arsenal. 

The UK advertising watchdog has sent out enforcement notices to over 50 companies with crypto ads, warning them to ensure they stick to its rules around not misleading the public.

It's the latest move in the Advertising Standards Authority's clampdown on crypto-related promos to protect consumers, which it calls a "red alert" priority.

"We're concerned that people might be enticed by ads into investing money they can't afford to lose, without understanding the risks," Guy Parker, the ASA's chief executive, said in a statement Tuesday. 

"Working alongside the FCA, we'll take strong action against any advertiser who fails to ensure that their ads are responsible," he said.

While the ASA didn't identify the 50 companies involved in its statement, the list includes Coinbase, eToro, Luno and Crypto.com, according to a CoinDesk report.

It told the companies that their ads must clearly state that digital assets are not regulated in the UK, and that the value of investments can go up or down. They also must avoid creating a FOMO-like sense of urgency, say crypto investment decisions are trivial or low risk, or suitable for everyone.

It will monitor for compliance with the rules, and any problem promos that are still around after May 2 will trigger enforcement action. This will include reporting non-compliant companies to the FCA, it said. 

The crypto advertisers can expect to face backlash if the latest enforcement notice from the ASA is ignored, as well as scrutiny from the Financial Conduct Authority. The UK's financial services authority is among the regulators keeping a watchful eye on the crypto industry, given the risks to inexperienced investors.

"This is a 'red alert' priority issue for us, and we've recently banned several crypto ads for misleading consumers and for being socially irresponsible," the ad watchdog said.

In January, the ASA banned two Crypto.com ads for taking advantage of consumers' credulity, and in May last year, it took action against cryptocurrency company Luno over its bitcoin ads. Outside industry players, it banned Arsenal soccer club's fan token promos in December, branding them "irresponsible."

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