- The UK government on Tuesday unveiled plans to strengthen rules on cryptocurrency ads.
- Crypto ads will soon be subject to the same regulations as other financial products and promotions.
- London's public transport system has seen a surge in crypto promotions in the past year, which have led to calls for action.
The UK government said on Tuesday it plans to regulate cryptocurrency advertising more tightly and tackle what it called misleading promotions after London saw a record number of crypto-related campaigns in recent months.
Proposals published on the government website on Tuesday involve plans to bring forward legislation to address misleading crypto promotion.
The government has also proposed subjecting crypto ads to the same rules and regulations as other financial advertising, to ensure these ads are "fair and clear."
"Cryptoassets can provide exciting new opportunities, offering people new ways to transact and invest – but it's important that consumers are not being sold products with misleading claims," British finance minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.
"We are ensuring consumers are protected, while also supporting innovation of the cryptoasset market," he said.
A record number of crypto-related adverts hit London in 2021, according to the Guardian, which reported that the city's public transport system displayed almost 40,000 adverts from 13 different companies between April and September.
About 2.3 million people in the UK have invested in crypto, "but research suggests that understanding of what crypto actually is is declining, suggesting that some users may not fully understand what they are buying," the government website said.
Under the government's plan, crypto promotion to the rules of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), meaning it would be held to the same standards expected of other financial assets, like stocks.
The FCA is the UK's financial regulatory authority and oversees financial firms and products. Crypto is currently unregulated in the UK, with the FCA warning the public that investing in crypto means they "should be prepared to lose" all their money.
Under the proposed rules, crypto would be brought under existing financial regulation laws. Firms wishing to promote crypto would need to be authorized by regulators like the FCA. Promotions "must be fair, clear, and not misleading," according to the government.
The proposals are expected to be introduced over six months after being finalized, the government said.