The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is in discussions with the government to tighten the guidelines governing crypto advertisements, to minimize customer risk.

Crypto Ads Facing The Fire

The marketing efforts of leading crypto exchanges in India like CoinDCX, WazirX, CoinSwitch Kuber, Zebpay, have not gone unnoticed. In fact, 1 out of 3 advertisements during the recent T20 World Cup was related to cryptocurrencies. Indian citizens have also expressed their distaste towards the aggressive advertising approach of these crypto firms. In a recent poll by LocalCircle , 76% of 56,000 surveyed stated that they wanted a pause on crypto-related ads on television and other media until a proper regulatory framework exists. Furthermore, a major portion of this 76% believes that these ads do not effectively highlight the risks involved in crypto investments.

Guidelines Under Government Scrutiny

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has addressed concerns of misleading crypto ads in the Rajya Sabha.

She stated,

“About the misleading advertisements and about are we banning them – Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), which governs all advertisements, their guidelines are being studied and the regulations that they have are all being looked into so that we can take, if necessary, some kind of position to a decision to say how we are going to handle this.”

She also noted that the Centre was aware of the potential risks posed by misleading advertisements and warned marketers to tread carefully, till a regulatory framework has been established.

ASCI Cooperating With Centre

According to ASCI general secretary, Manisha Kapoor, the council is looking into refreshing the guidelines to ensure that customers fully understand that crypto products are not legal tender and are not misled by exaggerated claims of profit.

Kapoor stated,

“The ASCI guidelines for crypto advertising are under active discussion with the government and other experts and seek to resolve issues that concern consumer interest. As such ASCI’s current guidelines already require ads to be honest and not exploit consumers’ lack of experience or knowledge, and this applies to ads across all categories, including crypto products.”

The ASCI, which is a self-regulatory authority for advertisements, does not pose legally enforceable guidelines. Instead, any guideline violation is considered a violation of the federal government’s guidelines.

Impending Crypto Bill

With the Parliament considering a bill that might shut down all crypto activities in the country, many exchanges like CoinSwitch Kuber, WazirX, Bitbns have paused advertising for now. However, the estimated Rs 50 crore that was spent by these exchanges on crypto ads during the T20 World Cup and the onboarding of multiple A-list celebrities as brand ambassadors had already amped up government scrutiny on this sector.

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