Aishwarya Ramesh

ASCI introduces ad guidelines for virtual digital assets and linked services

Hint: The eyes are on cryptocurrency and NFTs being advertised, a trend that's become increasingly popular over the last six months.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) recently announced that it would be stepping in to regulate cryptocurrency and non-fungible token (NFT) advertising, with a set of guidelines that brands have to follow.

Currently, in India, brands like WazirX, CoinDCX and CoinSwitch Kuber have all run big-ticket ad campaigns on TV. Some of these campaigns include endorsements from Bollywood's most expensive actors, such as Ranveer Singh and Ayushmann Khurrana.

Mumbai-based ASCI put down a set of regulations, taking into account the growing popularity of these brands and an increasing interest in cryptocurrency trading (both in India and around the world).

Over a call, ASCI's secretary general Manisha Kapoor tells afaqs! that these regulations were arrived at, keeping the interests of consumers in mind. Some of the regulations include rules such as a disclaimer that cryptocurrency markets are subject to risks. Another guideline stresses that nothing in the ads should downplay the risks associated with investing money in the category.

Manisha Kapoor
Manisha Kapoor

"Any financial product is prone to market uncertainties. We noticed that during the festive season and the Indian Premier League (IPL), some of these brands were advertising more actively. We wanted to ensure there was disclosure on the risk involved," explains Kapoor.

Earlier, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had issued guidelines regarding the Association of Mutual Funds in India's ads that had the campaign tagline 'Mutual Funds Sahi Hai'. The tagline clearly states that mutual funds are subject to market risks, and advised investors to read all scheme-related documents before investing. ASCI's guidelines have similar intent.

"There is a similarity between the money invested in either assets or cryptocurrency products. The value of the financial product is dependent on some uncertainties the market. The brand should clarify to the consumers that there is risk involved and it shouldn't encourage risky investment behaviour," explains Kapoor.

You can read the full set of guidelines below:


(Hero image by Kanchanara on Unsplash)

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