Crypto Ads Reach Record Level in London

January 15, 2022 3:01 pm

If you’re walking around in London transport these days, there’s a high chance that you’ll see a crypto-related ad in some form.

This is due to the surge of crypto firms that are advertising on public transport in recent years where TFL services report that there have been nearly 40,000 crypto adverts displayed in the past year from 13 firms.

Due to this, there have been calls by a number of people to ban these advertisements as there is increasing concern of people being lured into risky investments.

In total, crypto companies have spent around 800,000 euros to advertise on TFL and tube train services since 2018 and this number does not include for advertisements on public buses.

 

At the same time, there has been increasing pressure on the mayor, Sadiq Khan, to start implementing a ban on gambling adverts and extending this ban to crypto adverts as well.

Khan had pledged to ban gambling ads in the past but it has yet to be enforced in any shape or manner.

The Guardian reports Sian Berry’s (the Green party’s former co-leader) comments behind this push for a ban:

“Investment bubbles have always worked by dragging in more and more inexperienced suckers towards the end of the cycle. That’s the stage at which some of these projects may be at with all this public advertising,” she said.

“The risk is that they draw in people who are more likely than not to lose money, which is closely equivalent to gambling and I think these promotions should be banned by Transport for London in the same way.”

“People are struggling at the moment and they may have had blows to their life chances. They may have lost livelihoods or homes and be susceptible to get-rich-quick schemes.”

“Are TfL doing proper checks to establish whether these are legitimate companies?”

To these comments, crypto companies are responding that they are advertising in a legitimate fashion that follows guidelines and regulations laid out by the city.

For example, eToro responded that they are fully supporting measures and regulations designed to educate and protect investors regarding crypto and other financial assets.

Additionally, other crypto firms had pushed back and argued that the risks that are inherent to crypto are not unique to crypto assets and that any risks that was associated with them are clearly communicated.

All investments naturally come with risk and that past events like the 2008 financial collapse showed that even traditional finance was not immune to risk.

As a result, banning just crypto ads would be censorship and that the smarter approach would be to just include more regulation and disclaimers in the ads.

Companies have also pointed out that crypto by nature is not a scam or a bubble which have been reasons that were cited to push for a ban.

Kraken, a popular crypto exchange, pointed out that bubbles do not last for more than a decade where as the technology and use of these crypto has far exceeded that time frame.

In addition, there has been a high degree of adoption by many large institutions around that world which indicate that this is a digital revolution that is in process similar to the launch of the internet decades ago.

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