ASA has ruled against Luno Money’s poster ad for its cryptocurrency exchange service for failing to contain any risk warning that the value of Bitcoin could go down as well as up, in breach of CAP Code 3.1, 3.3 (misleading advertising) and 14.1 (financial services).
The ads were seen across the London Underground and London Buses networks in February 2021, and featured a cartoon image of a Bitcoin with text that stated “If you’re seeing Bitcoin on the Underground, it’s time to buy”.
The CAP Code requires ads for investments to make clear that the value of investments is variable and, unless guaranteed, could go down as well as up, and that significant limitations and qualifications are stated and presented clearly.
As the ad appeared in untargeted media, ASA considered that it was likely to have been seen by consumers who did not have extensive financial knowledge and experience of Bitcoin, and would expect that the exchange of Bitcoin would be regulated, with legal protection in place for investment activities. As Luno and the Bitcoin market were unregulated, this was material information that consumers required to make informed decisions about Luno’s service, and should have been made clear in the ad.
As a result, ASA found the ad to be misleading for failing to include any risk warning making sufficiently clear to consumers that the value of Bitcoin could go down as well as up, or that the Bitcoin market was unregulated in the UK.