Financial advice on crypto

Article by Phil

In the latest twist, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has censored ex England footballer Michael Owen over a crypto tweet.

Financial advice on crypto is a hot topic for both the advertising regulator and the financial regulator who are on the lookout for promotions. It seems that Owen tweeted about his NFT’s (Non-Fungible Tokens). He said something along the lines of how his NFT’s couldn’t lose any of their value. This is typical of celebrity endorsements on social media which are intended to promote crypto products in an indirect way. The ASA spotted the tweet and got in touch with Owen to warn him about advertising unregulated financial products. The tweet has now been deleted. This is not the first celebrity endorsement and won’t be the last, but it is encouraging to see the ASA continuing to take a proactive approach to enforcement, especially on social media.

I have a recent personal experience of testing out a response to financial advice on crypto.

Last week there was an advertisement on Facebook by MSP/Trading Central, a platform suggesting that it had the endorsement of Elon Musk. It piqued my interest. So I completed the online enquiry form. Within a minute I was called from a mobile number by a representative of the company who wanted to help me with the set-up process. He asked some simple questions about my circumstances and investment experience. He then went on to try to get me to commit an initial $250 into an account.  I was pleased to be asked for proof of identity under Money Laundering regulations. But when I said I had no ID on me I was offered a work around using my debit card, which was concerning. Needless to say, I didn’t deposit any funds there and then, which led to three more follow up calls from a mobile number in the UK, twice from the same person. Pressure was applied to make a deposit with the suggestion that the offer was time limited and that I could expect growth of 30% – per month!

I resisted the temptation. But it was an interesting experience. First to see just how slick the operation was. Then just how much pressure was being applied. Financial advice on crypto is unregulated. There is no safety net with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or the Financial Ombudsman Service. If you invest in Crypto the FCA advise that you should expect to lose all your money. Please be warned.

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