Guidelines To Promote & Advertise Crypto, NFTs In India

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has announced that from April 1st all crypto, NFT advertisements will have to carry a disclaimer -” crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions”- in a prominent and unmissable way.

“Advertising of virtual digital assets and services needs specific guidance, considering that this is a new and as yet an emerging way of investing. Hence, there is a need to make consumers aware of the risks and ask them to proceed with caution,” ASCI chairman Subhash Kamath said.

The disclaimers need to be put in — audio, video, prints, social media posts, or disappearing stories.

Let’s have a look at the guidelines.

  • A fifth of the advertising space in print or static ads should be dedicated to the disclaimer.
  • In a video, it should be positioned at the end against a plain background with a voice-over reading out the text at normal speed.
  • The disclaimer must remain on screen for at least five seconds in video ads.
  • For long-format ads of over two minutes, the disclaimer should be placed both at the starting and end of the ad.
  • If there is a restriction on characters, the following shortened disclaimer must be used “crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and risky” followed by a link to the full disclaimer.
  • Crypto advertisers have been prohibited from using the words — “currency”, “securities”, “custodian” & “depositories” in advertisements as consumers associate these words with regulated products.
  • Details on past performance shall not be provided in any partial or biased form.
  • Returns for periods of less than 12 months shall not be incorporated in ads.
  • Minors or anyone looking like a minor should not be shown in the ads.
  • No advertisement shall include statements that pledge or guarantee a future increase in profits,
  • Nothing in the ad should downplay the perils associated with VDA products.
  • The VDA products should not be compared to any other asset which is regulated.
  • ASCI has also asked celebrity endorsers to do due diligence about the statements & claims made in the advertisement, so as not to mislead consumers.
  • Advertisers & media owners must also assure that previous advertisements must not appear in the public domain unless they comply with the guidelines.

All the guidelines have been crafted after numerous discussions among the key stakeholders.

“We had several rounds of discussion with the government, finance sector regulators, and industry stakeholders before framing these guidelines,” said Subhash Kamath, chairman, ASCI.

These ASCI guidelines aid in standardizing advertisements within the virtual digital assets (VDAs) space. For now, these guidelines seem to be the right direction towards bringing clarity concerning the VDA ads.

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