The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is in discussions with the government to refresh cryptocurrency advertising guidelines. The discussion points included provisions to incorporate adequate disclosure of risks involved and ensuring that crypto products aren’t misrepresented as legal tender, ASCI general secretary Manisha Kapoor told ET.
The ASCI is a voluntary self-regulatory organisation consisting of representatives from advertisers, advertising agencies, media and allied professions such as market research, consulting and business education. ASCI’s code of self-regulation requires that advertisements be legal, decent, honest and truthful, and not hazardous or harmful while observing
In the month of October, Indian news media was flooded with a series of crypto-related ads from Indian crypto exchanges. Some go as far as to say ‘Safe hai! Simple Hai’ (It is safe, it is simple). Some of the advertisements seem to tick all the boxes above in ASCI’s self-regulatory code.
While replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government would introduce a cryptocurrency bill in Parliament after it receives approval from the Cabinet.
The government has listed “The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021″ for the winter session of the parliament, which started on November 29. The draft bill seeks to ban all private cryptocurrencies while making a few exceptions for the underlying technology.
The minister also told the house that no decision had been taken to ban misleading advertisements by crypto exchanges. Still, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government have run cautionary campaigns explaining the volatility and risky nature of the digital asset.
She also said that ASCI guidelines are being studied and that regulations are being looked into so that the government can take a decision on handling advertisements if necessary.
In response to a question by member of parliament Neeraj Shekhar, the finance minister informed the parliament that the government does not collect data on cryptocurrency transactions. Sitharaman said, “Don’t have ready information on how much tax has been collected on crypto or how much has been paid on it.”