India Reveals Guidelines for Crypto Advertising

Guidelines have been released by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)for dictating how crypto assets and related services should be promoted and advertised. Published on Wednesday, these guidelines are meant to govern the way virtual digital assets and related services should be advertised to the public. These guidelines would be applicable to all advertisements that are carried out in relation to virtual digital assets (VDA) that are commonly defined as NFT (non-fungible token) or crypto products. SubhashKamath, the chairman of the ASCI, stated that they had had a number of discussions regarding this topic with financial sector regulators, the government as well as industry stakeholders.

It was after these discussions that they have come up with the published guidelines. The first rule that has been highlighted is that all crypto-related advertisements should come with a disclaimer. It should clearly mention that crypto and NFT products are unregulated and carry a high amount of risk. The advertisement should also clarify that there will not be any regulatory recourse for the losses associated with these transactions. It is further mentioned in the guidelines that the disclaimer has to be made in a manner that an average consumer fines it unmissable and prominent.

The advertising authority in India has also mentioned in the guidelines that certain terms, such as ‘custodian’, ‘securities’, ‘depositories’ and ‘currency’ should not be used when advertising virtual digital asset products or services because these terms are often associated with regulated products by consumers. Furthermore, the ads are also not permitted to feature a minor, or someone who appears to be one. Moreover, the ads should not claim to offer a solution to any money problems or others, neither should they come with a guarantee of increase in profits in the future. The ASIC added that past information should not be showcased in a biased or partial manner.

They are not permitted to have returns of less than 12 months mentioned. The advertising watchdog also said that the risks associated with the asset class should not be downplayed and the products and services should not be compared with any other regulated asset class. Celebrity endorsement is another aspect that has also been mentioned in the advertisements. The ASIC said that any celebrities or prominent personalities appearing in VDA advertisements need to make some effort and do their due diligence about the claims and statements that are made in order to avoid misleading any consumers.

The ASIC further said that these guidelines would apply to all advertisements that are published or released on 1st April 2022 and after. The ASIC also noted that media owners and advertisers also have the responsibility of ensuring that any ads made earlier do not appear in the public domain after 15th, April 2022, unless they are compliant with the new rules mentioned in the guidelines. This is another step that India has taken to control the crypto sector in the country that appears to be experiencing exponential growth, but there hasn’t been any progress made in terms of regulation.

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