Crypto Ads Crackdowns

In 2022 We Still Have Crypto Ads Crackdowns

Nicoleta Balan Avatar
Nov 11, 2022
7 min reading time

Shortly after the 2017-2018 Bitcoin rally, the main advertising platforms followed with a crypto ads crackdown. So, for the first time since cryptocurrency started, social media and advertising became hostile towards crypto and blockchain content.  

Although not commendable, the crypto ads ban was understandable. How so? Well, 78% ICOs conducted in 2017 were identified as scams. And in this situation, it was no surprise that the social media giants and their advertising platforms did everything they could to dissociate from the hazard. 

Therefore, in January 2018, Facebook announced through a blog post that it would prohibit “misleading or deceptive promotional practices,” emphasizing ICOs and cryptocurrencies. Google followed in March, announcing that the AdWords platform (now Google Ads) will officially ban all cryptocurrency-related advertising starting in June. In the same month, Twitter and LinkedIn also decided to ban all cryptocurrency-related advertising.

Yet, as time passed, crypto bans have gradually eased down. And as the whole cryptocurrency sector has gone through a tremendous evolution in the last years, the mainstream advertising platforms have become more welcoming towards crypto projects.

However, despite the bull run continuing, we see more regulatory crackdowns on crypto ads in 2022. 

Crackdowns on crypto ads

Spain 

Spain’s National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) has cracked down on cryptocurrency advertising. According to Financial Times, Spain imposed new rules for crypto companies, marketing companies hired by said firms, and influencers.   

Namely, cryptocurrency promotion needs to be clear, balanced, impartial, non-misleading, and state the risks of crypto investments. Also, influencers promoting crypto have to state if they are being paid for the promotion. Besides that, influencers and outlets with over 100,000 followers in Spain that want to launch crypto ads campaigns need to notice the CNMV at least ten days in advance.  

Failure to comply may lead to a fine as high as €300,000 ($342,000).  

As Spain announced, this new guideline should get into effect starting with February 17. 

Singapore 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on 17 January a document named “Guidelines on Provision of Digital Payment Token Services to the Public [PS-G02].”  

The gist of the document is that crypto companies should not portray the trading of DPTs cryptocurrencies in a manner that trivializes the high risks of trading in DPTs and should not promote their DPT services in public areas in Singapore or through any other media directed at the general public in Singapore.  

Furthermore, crypto companies may only promote their services on their own website, mobile applications, or official social media accounts. Also, these companies should not use social media influencers to promote their services. 

The UK 

On 12 January, the UK also ruled a crackdown on crypto ads. The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled against crypto ads published by Crypto.com, Coinbase, Papa John’s, Arsenal Football Club, eToro, Coinburp, EXMO, Luno, and Kraken.  

The UK authority took these decisions, affirming that crypto assets are a ‘red alert’ priority and based on proactive monitoring of the adverts. Also, these decisions take part in an ongoing project which will look to shape specific guidance in 2022 for how crypto promotion campaigns should be run. 

Advertising Platforms’ restrictions 

The most well-known and widely used advertising platforms come from Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Although in 2018, the advertising giants rushed on banning crypto, a lot of the advertising restrictions associated with cryptocurrencies have been lifted.   

Yet, when it comes to Google, you still need to meet its requirements and pass the application process. And after that, you may use Google search ads and display ads in limited circumstances. And of course, ICOs or promoting coins and tokens is still prohibited.  

Facebook also lifted most of its restrictions regarding crypto. Now, Facebook Ads requires you to confirm your eligibility to run cryptocurrency ads. However, since Q3 and Q4 of 2021, Facebook’s advertising position towards crypto is quite hard to clearly understand as we see more and more shady tokens appearing promoted on the platform.  

As for Twitter Ads, cryptocurrency promotion is restricted, but you can target countries like Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and the USA.  

But beyond these platforms’ policy, the regulators are taking steps towards defining what is fine to appear in a crypto ad and what is not.  

And here we have:  

  • Papa John’s ad ran on both its website and Twitter page, stating “FREE BITCOIN WORTH £10” and “Save £15 when you spend £30 or more & get £10 worth of Bitcoin from Luno!”  
  • Coinbase’s Facebook ad included text which stated, “£5 in #Bitcoin in 2010 would be worth over £100,000 in January 2021. Don’t miss out on the next decade – get started on Coinbase today.”  
  • Arsenal FC published a post on its Facebook page promoting the $AFC fan token and created a website page for the same goal. The post included: $AFC in now live $CHZ” and “Ben White, Calum Chambers and Kieran Tierney have had their say … But what song do you want to hear when we win? Download the Socios app to get your token and vote.” The webpage included the title “$AFC Fan Token: Everything you need to know,” information explaining what the Arsenal Fan Token was and the benefits that it offered, plus a text at the bottom that stated “In order to buy $AFC fan tokens you need to purchase the cryptocurrency Chiliz. Please remember that the future value of Fan Tokens is dependent on supply and demand and can therefore go up as well as down. Fans should be aware that they could lose some or all of their money invested. We advise you to spend only what you can afford and seek independent financial advice if required.”  

The examples above are just a few of the ads that the UK Advertising Standards Authority ruled against, even though they have seemed to pass the platforms’ policies. And the common element between the bans is that ASA considered that the adverts trivialized investment in crypto assets, took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity and failed to illustrate the risk of the investment. 

Using Coinzilla’s crypto ads

Although change is uncomfortable, regulations are a good thing happening to crypto if you look at it from a big picture perspective.   

The authorities stopped ignoring the industry and recognized that they should give out legislative frameworks. In the end, that gives room to grow to the cryptocurrency digital marketing sector.

And with the guidelines and the legislative attention it gets, we cannot help but hope that the crypto industry will soon be rid of bad actors so that more and more investors take their chance to explore the opportunities the market offers.  

Regarding these regulations, Coinzilla’s legal department is keeping a close eye on how these guidelines and initiatives develop to ensure safe advertising.  

Furthermore, you can always count on our account managers’ support when you promote your cryptocurrency project.

Key takeaways 

  • In 2022, regulators take the initiative to give out guidelines for advertising crypto.   
  • By January 2022, the most prominent crypto ads crackdown come from Spain, Singapore, and the UK.  
  • Although advertisers can use mainstream advertising platforms to a degree to promote their crypto projects, that doesn’t mean they won’t be targeted by regulators finding faults in their ads.  
  • Regarding these regulations, Coinzilla’s legal department is keeping a close eye on how these guidelines and initiatives develop so that we can ensure safe advertising. 
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