In 2021, there were around 40,000 crypto advertisements published across all of London. TFL and a number of lawmakers are lobbying the city’s mayor to regulate these ads. Concerns about trader manipulation and potential scams are growing.
40,000 Crypto Ads Posted Across London
It’s almost hard to walk around London these days without seeing a cryptocurrency advertisement. Last year, 39,560 crypto advertisements from at least 13 different organizations were displayed in London’s public transport terminals. According to statistics, this is the most crypto advertisement ever seen in any city on the planet.
Although this may seem like a marketing step for bitcoin companies, there are growing concerns about the financial loss and manipulation caused by these advertisements.
Cryptocurrency marketing is unregulated in the UK, meaning virtually any company can promote their tokens in one of the busiest cities in the world.
Around London Underground stations, bus stops and even on its trains, there are various advertisements for even unregulated currencies and untested NFT projects. The TLF (Transport for London) has repeatedly called on the Mayor of London to ban the promotion of unregulated financial products.
Several politicians, including Siân Berry of the Green Party of England, have expressed their opposition to such advertisements. TLF, according to the legislator, should put in place an approval procedure to regulate these advertisements; otherwise, Londoners could fall victim to growing cryptocurrency scams or develop an addiction to commerce.
Earlier this year, the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, promised a complete ban on the marketing of gambling. That promise, however, has yet to be honored nearly a year later. Conservative politicians are now urging the mayor to stick to his wish and extend the ban to cryptocurrency ads as well.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned seven companies from running crypto ads in the UK last month, including big names like Coinbase, eToro and Papa Johns Pizza. Due to the misleading nature of their advertisements, the ban applied only to these brands.
The ASA had also banned a specific Bitcoin advertisement from a famous crypto exchange in London, which appeared to trick people into buying BTC. None of these bans have been applied to the entire crypto sector, however.
Additionally, the ASA has not established a single regulatory framework for approving crypto advertisements. As a result, these advertisements spread almost at the speed of light, especially in densely populated areas such as London.
Cryptocurrency advertisements were not very common in the UK a few years ago. eToro was the only company to advertise cryptocurrency in London in 2019. For its crypto advertisements, the company had only 5 digital screens and 40 large posters. Even in 2020, other companies like Coinfloor and Luno joined the public marketing resulting in around 1600 crypto ads in London.
In 2021, the entire bitcoin advertising market in London surged, with the cryptocurrency becoming more popular than ever. There were around 15,000 adverts in London in the first two months of 2021, and by the end of the year that number had more than doubled.
The city has now established itself as a strong competitor for crypto platforms. While a complete ad ban would be detrimental to the crypto ecosystem as a whole, a controlled approach is essential to protect traders from potential scams and fraud, which is an unfortunate aspect of the market.
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