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UK to tighten rules on crypto advertising

“Cryptoassets can provide exciting new opportunities, offering people new ways to transact and invest.”

• January 18, 2022
A picture of cryptocurrency used to illustrate the story

The United Kingdom has revealed its intention to create rules to address misleading cryptoasset advertisements, following research that revealed citizens may not understand what they are buying. 

This announcement was made by the UK Treasury on Tuesday. 

“Cryptoassets can provide exciting new opportunities, offering people new ways to transact and invest – but it’s important that consumers are not being sold products with misleading claims,” Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said.

The proposed legislation is in response to the Financial Conduct Authority’s Cryptoasset consumer research 2021, which highlighted the potential for misleading advertising of crypto products to cause consumer harm. The research noted the understanding of what crypto is to be on a decline and as such, users may not fully understand what they are buying. 

The consultation response sets out the government’s plan to bring the promotion of crypto assets within the scope of financial promotions legislation, placing crypto assets within FCA jurisdiction with regard to stocks, shares, and insurance products.  

The announcement noted that the proposed legislation would follow a secondary legislation to amend the Financial Promotion Order, outlining the investments and activities to which the financial promotion regime applies. 

Under the current Financial Services and Markets Act (2000), a business cannot promote a financial product unless they are authorised by the FCA or the PRA, or the content of the promotion is approved by a firm which is. 

The statement also noted that the British government will put in place a transitional period of six months from both the finalisation and publication of the proposed Financial Promotion Order regime and the complementary FCA rules.

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