The UK's marketing regulator on Wednesday said it had banned two adverts from Crypto.com following a complaint.
The first ad, seen on 1 September 2021 in the Daily Mail app, featured text which stated, “Buy Bitcoin with credit card instantly.”
The second ad, seen on 30 July 2021 in the Love Balls app, promised “up to 3.5% p.a”. The number in the text increased to “8.5%.”
"We understood that consumers would interpret the claim 'Earn up to 3.5% p.a.' which increased to 'Earn up to 8.5% p.a.' to mean that any deposit could increase by the highest amount shown," the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said.
The ads failed to illustrate the risks of the investment, were irresponsible, and took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity, the regulator added.
The watchdog also objected to the suggestion that consumers should buy crypto on credit without also warning of the dangers of going into debt.
There were no fines issued, only warnings that future ads must include details that make clear that the value of investments in cryptocurrency could go down as well as up.
A Crypto.com spokesperson said that both ads were removed immediately following engagement with the ASA. The company has volunteered to go "above and beyond the ASA’s rules" by ensuring ongoing compliance with Financial Conduct Authority’s Treating Customers Fairly outcomes 2 and 3, which refer to fair marketing practices.
"We believe building a fully regulated industry is the best way to accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency, which has long been our mission. Engaging regulators to ensure compliance and building trust remain Crypto.com’s highest priorities," the spokesperson said.
“We appreciate the collaborative dialogue and engagement from the ASA regarding advertising in the UK in this relatively new industry, and remain committed to working with them and regulators around the world to ensure all of our activities are compliant with the most recent regulatory guidelines.”
The ban adds to a host of other rulings against crypto-related firms from the regulator. In December, it banned seven crypto ads, calling crypto-assets a 'red alert' priority. The companies included trading platforms eToro and Coinburp; exchanges EXMO, Luno, Kraken and Coinbase; as well as a promotion from pizza chain Papa John's.
It also comes amid a marketing push by Crypto.com. In November, it signed a 20-year agreement with AEG to rename Staples Center in Los Angeles to Crypto.com Arena. A source familiar with the matter told The Block that the deal cost the exchange $700 million, making it one of the largest sponsorship deals in sports history.
This article was updated to include a statement from Crypto.com.