Advertisements posted on public transport in London for the Floki Inu cryptocurrency are being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Ads for Floki Inu, named after Tesla boss Elon Musk’s dog, have appeared on subway trains and buses.
The ASA, the UK’s advertising regulator, says it is “looking into a large body of ads in this industry” and looking into whether they break the rules.
Floki Inu said the ads were “legally canceled”.
“These announcements also include a clear disclaimer highlighting the volatility of cryptocurrencies,” the company told the BBC.
Floki Inu advertisements, which appeared throughout the capital, sought to lure investors with the slogan “Missed Doge? Get Floki”, following the growth of the cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
Dogecoin started out as a satirical joke based on the Doge meme Shiba Inu dog, but now has a total theoretical value measured in billions of dollars.
Part of Floki Inu’s concern was that little was known about who was behind the project, and there are limited details on its website.
Floki Inu told the BBC in an email: “Our decision not to feature team members on our website is intentional: to make it clear that Floki is people’s cryptocurrency and a movement focused on them.” .
He claimed his “legal entity” was based in Georgia and had shared this fact with “strategic partners” during know-your-customer checks.
The email stated that the lead developer of the project was Jackie Xu, based in the Netherlands, adding: “The Floki team is not entirely anonymous as is assumed, but some members of our team have chosen to be temporarily anonymous. because they don’t want distractions and for safety reasons. “
Floki Inu ads are controversial.
Although the text stated that the value of investments could decrease and that cryptocurrencies were not regulated in the UK, some politicians felt that the capital’s transport operator, Transport for London (TfL), should not have accepted them.
Sian Berry., Member of the London Green Party Assembly told the Guardian: “This should have raised a red flag, and someone at TfL should have looked at it before it was approved.”
The London Mayor’s office said: “TfL is writing to the ASA and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ask for their opinion on the concerns raised.”
But in his email to the BBC, Floki Inu responded by stating, “The attack on these ads by a particular political party is an attack on cryptocurrency and people’s freedom of choice, a clear attempt at censorship.” .
According to TfL, there have been no widespread complaints from the public regarding cryptocurrency advertisements.
He said it requires advertisers to mention that the cryptocurrency is unregulated and its value may decline.
“We continue to work with the ASA and FCA to encourage better cryptocurrency regulation and will discuss concerns that have been raised with them to get their input as we consider what actions may be needed,” added TfL.
He said that since 2018 he had required all cryptocurrency ads to be consulted for review “before they go live on our estate.”
Over the summer, the ASA banned an advertisement for cryptocurrency exchange Luno, which ran on TfL, which claimed “it’s time to buy” Bitcoin.
In a statement to the BBC, the ASA said it was reviewing several cryptocurrency ads, including those for Floki Inu, in “various media spaces” not just on TfL.
“We will assess whether these announcements break our rules and use our findings to inform our regulation in this area, including any follow-up enforcement actions,” the authority said.
He said ads must “avoid jargon that cannot be easily understood by their audience or exploit their lack of experience, and must appropriately signal risk, noting that the value of investments fluctuates and goes down as well as up.”
He added that the cryptocurrency was a “red alert zone” for the organization.
Other regulators are also concerned about how cryptocurrency is being promoted.
In September, Financial Services Authority President Charles Randell slammed influencers, accusing them of fueling “quick-riches delusions.”
- Transport to London
- Travel by train
- Authority for Advertising Standards
- Travel by bus
- Commercial break
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