UK advertising watchdog bans ‘socially irresponsible’ Coinfloor investment ad

The U.K. advertising regulator has banned an advert for digital currency investments, describing its messaging as “irresponsibly” encouraging pensioners to invest in digital currency.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found that the campaign, which specifically targeted older investors who were “unlikely to know” much about digital currency, had the potential to be misleading.

In particular, the agency flagged the phrase “there is no point in keeping your money in the bank” as objectionable, despite a small-print disclaimer at the foot of the ad.

The disclaimer on the ad, published by cryptocurrency exchange Coinfloor, was “insufficient to counteract the overall message,” according to the findings of the regulator.

The Coinfloor ad occupied a full-page spread in print, featuring a picture of a Coinfloor customer who had invested part of her pension into BTC. As part of her personal testimony, the ad quotes included contentious claims about the safety of holding money in traditional financial products.

“Today there is no point keeping it in the bank – the interest rates are insulting…That is why when I received my pension, I put a third of it into gold, a third of it into silver and the remainder into Bitcoin…To me, Bitcoin is digital gold and it has allowed me to take the steps to secure the cash I already have.”

The ASA upheld two separate complaints about the advert, finding it was misleading as it failed to adequately explain the risks of investing in digital currencies, and that it was socially irresponsible by suggesting BTC was a good investment for savings or pensions.

Responding to the ruling, Coinfloor said the messaging was in the customer’s own words, rather than from the company itself, and that the disclaimer was featured in the ad with sufficient prominence. 

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