September 26, 2023

Following a surge of crypto commercials in the past months, ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India), the nation’s regulatory body for the marketing industry, has set rules for cryptocurrency ads.

These standards, which will become effective on the 1st of April, compels cryptocurrency platforms to carry a warning in all of their commercials. The notice states that “Cryptocurrencies and digital assets are uncontrolled and could be extremely risky. There may not be any legal remedy for losses that are incurred because of these transactions.”

Key Points Of The Guideline

As stated by ASCI, the warning must be “pronounced and visible” to the ordinary user. For example, in a printed advertisement, the caution should take up about one-fifth of the advertising space at the end of the page. Also, the letters must be in a legible font on a simple background.

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The caution must be added on a simple background at the end of the video for video commercials. The print disclaimer must be accompanied by a voiceover, which must be delivered at a regular speaking tempo and not rushed. 

From the standard given, the keywords “securities,” “currency,” “deposits,” and “custodian” are prohibited in cryptocurrency advertisements. This is since consumers link these keywords with regulated goods. Also, crypto earnings obtained for a duration shorter than a year must not be discussed in the advert.

The Guideline Is To Protect Its Citizens

ASCI chairman Subhash Kamath said, “before drafting these recommendations, we had multiple sessions of meetings with the state govt, financial sector authorities, and industry players.”

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“Because this is an innovative and still-emerging manner of investment, it is necessary to provide special instructions when advertising virtual assets and services. This is to ensure that customers are aware of the hazards and advised to act carefully,” he added.

The recommendations were released two months after the Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi, convened a cryptocurrency summit. At the summit, they agreed to “prevent initiatives that could deceive the people via advertising that are not transparent with the promise of huge returns.”

However, the ASCI rules do not imply that cryptocurrency is now lawful in the country. The nation is yet to state its regulatory position as it concerns cryptos. Crypto legislation is being drafted, which would explain the state’s stance on the burgeoning industry.

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Nevertheless, in the past months, India has taken actions that indicate guarded optimism about cryptocurrency instead of an absolute prohibition, as had been predicted. The Indian government placed a 30% tax on income produced from cryptocurrency transactions earlier in the month. The nation’s political elites have also expressed interest in cryptocurrency, implying they may embrace it.

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