Cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX has found itself in hot water with the UK’s advertising regulator over its paid advertisement in The Times newspaper at the turn of the year.
The double-page spread included an image of the Bitcoin price chart dating back to its inception in 2009, but the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) believes the chart “exaggerated returns” and was “misleading”.
On Wednesday, the regulator alleged that BitMEX did not provide clear explanatory information and breached advertising rules.
The ASA received a total of four complaints, with all of them challenging that the advertisement was misleading.
BitMEX responded by stating that the ad’s purpose was to inform and “not to sell”. The exchange also stated that it had “no direct financial interest in the value of cryptocurrency itself”.
— Oliver Knight (@KnightCoinRivet) January 3, 2019
However, the regulator has upheld the complaints, with the ASA stating that the ad was “a clear promotional statement of Bitcoin’s merits and did very little to warn consumers of any risks”.
It continued: “For those reasons, we considered that the ad had misleadingly exaggerated the return on investment, failed to illustrate the risk of the investment, and therefore concluded it was in breach of the Code [CAP Code, the rule book for non-broadcast advertisements].”
The action taken against BitMEX is as follows: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told HDR Global Trading Ltd to ensure that financial information in their ads was set out in a way that allowed it to be readily understood by the audience being addressed and that the risks of investments were sufficiently clearly signposted.”
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