Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has raised concerns about the growing number of crypto ads in the country. Crypto which is currently a grey area has seen aggressive ad campaigns recently from the operators in the concluded IPL 2021 and in the ongoing World T20 Cup hosted by India.
CoinDCX, CoinSwift which are the latest Indian unicorns are the main advertisers for the official broadcaster of IPL and World T20 Cup – Star India. Foreign crypto exchange FTX is a stadium branding partner for the World Cup.
The crypto operators have engaged Ranveer Singh (CoinSwitch) and Ayushmann Khurrana (CoinDCX) to promote crypto trading in India. Salman Khan recently launched a new social coin by short video app Chingari. There are currently around 15-20 million crypto investors in the country.
“Just an observation, so many ads in print, on tv, online space for crypto investment and yet no guidelines or regulations in place for their functioning. Important for investors to know that the GoI hasn’t bothered to bring clarity&for these companies to educate investors about it,” Mrs. Chaturvedi tweeted.
The sector currently has no regulations on investments or on advertising standards. Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BCAC) have announced that they are working on the issuance of regulations for the crypto industry. ASCI and BCAC are not statutory bodies and the regulations issued are not legally enforceable.
“Cryptocurrency is a very new concept and not everyone understands it fully yet. Celebrities really need to do their due diligence when backing a claim. Because if it’s found misleading, they can be held accountable for it,” Subhash Kamath, Chairman of ASCI told ET, referring to the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which came into effect last year replacing the erstwhile Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
The new enactment makes it the duty of a person promoting (the endorser) a product or service to ensure that their claims are not false or misleading.
In July, a Public Interest Litigation was filed before Delhi High Court against crypto exchanges WazirX, Coinswitch Kuber, and CoinDCX, seeking the court’s directions to SEBI, India’s securities markets regulator to issue guidelines on advertisements. The next date of hearing is in December.
“Most people don’t fully understand what crypto is. It is important for us to look at some kind of guidelines so that there are no false or misleading claims. We are working on it,” Kamath was quoted by ET.