Advertisements are one of the most effective ways to promote products and services since they tend to make an impression on people’s thoughts. Advertisements, on the other hand, can also be deceiving at times. Indian authorities have recently expressed their displeasure with “irresponsible” cryptocurrency advertising by social media influencers and celebrities. Sponsorship of big athletic events is often a source of contention for them. In order to protect the interests of commercial and young investors, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has issued guidelines for the endorsement of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Following protests from the government and industry stakeholders about the deceptive nature of some commercials, numerous crypto platforms were forced to remove television and print advertisements. All advertising released or published on or after April 1, 2022, will be subject to such restrictions.
Advocate P.M. Mishra from Finlaw Associates lists down the do’s and don’ts that have been specified in the guidelines issued by ASCI:
- Do not use the following words in your advertisements while promoting virtual digital asset – currencies, securities, depositories and custodian.
- Do not use a minor or anyone who appears to be a minor. A minor engaging with the product directly or discussing the product publicly would be considered inappropriate.
- Do not portray that investing in cryptocurrency would be a solution to tackle monetary problems.
- Do not mislead people by making them believe that profit is guaranteed once they have invested in cryptocurrencies.
- Do not display information related to past performance in a prejudiced manner. Returns for periods of less than 12 months should not be displayed.
- Do not refute the knowledge or warnings provided by the government. Such contradictions while advertising digital virtual assets are not acceptable.
- Do not show that investing in cryptocurrencies is a piece of cake. The costumers should not be given the impression that investing in such a commodity is free from risks. Customers need to think twice before investing.
- Do provide customers with information that can be understood easily. The advertiser’s name and an easy means to contact them should be included.
- Do provide data, which is unambiguous, precise and recent. Disclaimers need to be mentioned.
“Many crypto enterprises in India have taken advantage of the fact that the industry is still unregulated and have published deceptive and aggressive cryptocurrency advertisements. These guidelines are meant to educate, bring clarity and avoid any misunderstanding among the consumers” says Advocate P.M. Mishra.