India’s advertising watchdog had been framing guidelines for virtual digital assets.
The Advertising Stands Council of India (ASCI) has released guidelines for crypto or virtual digital assets related advertisements, which will be applicable on or after April 1. Earlier advertisements must not appear in the public domain unless they comply with the new guidelines after April 15, 2022.
The ASCI said it held extensive consultations “with different stakeholders including government and the virtual digital asset industry” to frame the guidelines.
The primary guideline requires all ads for VDA (virtual digital asset) products and VDA exchanges or featuring VDAs, to carry the following disclaimer: “Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions.”
According to the guidelines, the words “currency”, “securities”, “custodian” and “depositories” may not be used in advertisements of VDA products or services as consumers associate these terms with regulated products.
The guidelines also seek that cost or profitability of VDA products shall contain clear, accurate, sufficient and updated information. For example, “zero cost” will need to include all costs that the consumer might reasonably associate with the offer or transaction.
The guidelines include a requirement that “returns for periods of less than 12 months shall not be included” in advertisements in order to make sure that “information on past performance shall not be provided in any partial or biased manner.”
India’s advertising watchdog believed that several of the crypto-related advertisements “do not adequately disclose the risks associated with such products.”
In November 2021, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to consider regulatory prospects of cryptocurrencies where reports said a strong consensus was reached to stop “attempts to mislead the youth through over-promising and non-transparent advertising.”