- There were almost 40,000 crypto ads displayed around London in 2021.
- TFL and several politicians are urging the city’s mayor to regulate such adverts.
- There are growing concerns about trader manipulation and potential scams.
It’s almost impossible to go around London and not come across a cryptocurrency advertisement these days. Last year, London’s public transport stations displayed 39,560 crypto ads from at least 13 different companies. Statistically, this is the highest number of crypto ads recorded in any city around the world.
Although it might seem like a marketing milestone for cryptocurrency firms, there are growing concerns about financial harm and manipulation caused by these ads. Cryptocurrency marketing is unregulated in the UK, which means that almost any company can promote their tokens in one of the busiest cities of the world.
There are several ads of unregulated meme coins and unverified NFT projects around London’s Tube stations, bus stops, and even inside its trains. The TLF (Transport for London) has continuously asked the city’s Mayor to ban advertisements for unregulated financial products.
Several politicians like Siân Berry from the Green Party of England has also raised concerns about such ads. According to the politician, TLF should have an approval mechanism to monitor these ads, otherwise, Londoners might fall victim to growing crypto frauds or develop trading addiction.
Earlier last year, the city’s Mayor Sadiq Khan promised a total ban on gambling adverts. However, almost a year later that promise still hasn’t been fulfilled. Now, conservative politicians are calling for the Mayor to implement his promise, and extend the ban to crypto adverts as well.
Cryptocurrency ads are rocketing across London
Last month, the ASA banned seven companies from floating crypto ads in the UK, which included big names like Coinbase, eToro, and Papa Johns Pizza. The ban was only applicable for these brands because of the misleading nature of their adverts.
The ASA had also banned a specific Bitcion ad in London from a popular crypto exchange, which was evidently misleading people to buy BTC. However, none of these bans was extended to the entire crypto industry. Also, the ASA didn’t set any specific regulatory framework for approving crypto ads. So, these ads are almost spreading at the speed of light, especially around busy cities like London.
If we look a few years back, cryptocurrency adverts were not that common in the UK. In 2019, eToro was the only company showing crypto adverts around London. The company only had 5 digital displays and 40 long posters for its crypto ads. Even in 2020, there were around 1600 crypto adverts in London, as new firms like Coinfloor and Luno joined public marketing.
The entire market for crypto advertisement in London exploded in 2021, as cryptocurrency, in general, became more popular than ever before. In the first two months of 2021, there were around 15,000 ads in London, and by the end of the year, the number more than doubled.
The city has now become a major competing ground for crypto platforms. Although a total ban on advert won’t be good for the overall crypto space, a regulated approach is much needed to protect traders from potential scams and frauds, which is an unfortunate reality of the crypto industry.