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Global Regulatory Developments in the field of Crypto Advertising

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Global Regulatory Developments in the field of Crypto Advertising

20 January 2022

In the recent months, regulators around the world have increased their attention to activities related to the promotion of crypto-assets and crypto-asset related services. Subsequently, regulatory authorities have introduced new enforcement policies and regulatory regimes applicable to such promotions. Only this week the regulators from Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom have published their regulatory positions or guidelines on the matter. While each country chooses to regulate crypto-assets in a different fashion, a clear common denominator is present – the goal of increasing consumer protection and bringing the regulations applicable to crypto-asset promotions as much as possible in line with regulation of financial advertisement. Below is a high level overview of the key regulatory developments in this field.

 

  • Spain – On 17 January 2022, the Spanish securities regulator (“CNMV“) has issued a circular on “Advertising of Crypto-assets for Investment Purposes”. The circular sets the rules, principles and criteria to which the content and format of crypto-asset promotion activity should be subject.

 

  • United Kingdom – On 18 January 2022, the UK government has published a plan to strengthen rules on crypto-asset advertisement as it seeks to bring the regulations applicable to crypto-asset advertisements in line with other financial advertising and ensure that they are fair, clear, increase consumer protection while simultaneously avoiding discouraging innovation. Following the above, the draft FCA handbook on “Strengthening our financial promotion rules for high risk investments, including cryptoassets” was published, and it includes certain restrictions on the promotion of crypto-assets. Beyond that, we have recently seen a significant surge in the number of enforcement actions taken by the UK Advertising Standard Authority (“ASA”) concerning crypto-asset related advertisements against different actors in the crypto space, with Crypto.com, Coinbase, Kraken and eToro to name a few.

 

  • Canada – On 23 September 2021, the Canadian Securities Authority (“CSA”) and Investment Industry Regulatory Organizations of Canada (“IIROC”) have published a guidance on advertising, marketing and use of social media, by crypto trading platforms (“CTPs”). This guidance applies to platforms that are subject to the requirement to register as a dealer under Canadian securities regulation, and includes examples of misleading statements in advertising and marketing, as well as outlines concerns related to use of improper gambling-style contests, schemes and promotions. Furthermore, the guidance presents regulators’ expectations for the use of social media by CTPs.

 

In addition to the growing number of specific regulations applicable to the promotion of crypto-asset activities and products set by the regulatory authorities around the world, industry standards applicable to such activities also seem to take shape recently, with tech giants Google and Meta (Facebook) introducing significant amendments to their advertisement policies applicable to crypto businesses.

These recent developments highlight the increased scrutiny over adequate and compliant promotion of crypto-asset related activities, especially from a consumer protection perspective. We expect to see further establishment of clear and detailed rules concerning the advertisement of crypto-asset related activities, both by the regulatory authorities and by the industry, as well as increased enforcement activity conducted by different regulators on this matter.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding the compliance of your business with the constantly evolving regulations in the crypto-asset space in general, and with regulations applicable to the promotion of your crypto-asset business in particular. 

Kind regards,

Ariel Yosefi, Partner
Head of Technology & eCommerce Regulation

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