UK financial watchdog warns influencers about ‘misleading’ crypto memes

UK financial watchdog warns influencers about ‘misleading’ crypto memes
Credit: Shutterstock
  • The Financial Conduct Authority published new rules for promoting financial products on social media.
  • The FCA identified crypto memes as possible violations of the new rules.

The UK’s financial regulatory released guidelines to caution social media influencers who promote financial products, including cryptocurrencies.

Influencer’s who are paid to promote a financial products need regulatory approval to avoid criminal charges, the Financial Conduct Authority said.

The report specifically identified influencers promoting cryptocurrencies on social media.

“Promotions that fail to meet this standard can cause consumers to buy products and engage in services that are not suitable for their needs, leading to poor outcomes for them,” the regulator’s report said.

Stay ahead of the game with our weekly newsletters

Financial advertisements must be “fair, clear, and not misleading” and contain risk warnings, the FCA said.

“The requirement for promotions to be fair, clear and not misleading applies to crypto asset promotions,” the report read.

Crypto influencers were encouraged to refer to the FCA’s crypto-specific guidance released in 2023 for further information.

The FCA also singled out memes as a potential source of infractions online.

Join the community to get our latest stories and updates
FCA example of a non-compliant meme

Users are often unaware that promotional memes may be subject to FCA rules, the authority wrote, specifying crypto memes as “particularly prevalent” among influencer promotions.

Cryptocurrencies, referred to as “cryptoassets” in the report, were designated as high-risk investments by the regulator.

At the beginning of March the FCA said it “will not object” to requests from recognised investment exchanges to list ETNs.

The London Stock Exchange announced on March 11 that it will accept applications for Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange-traded notes, in a move that sets the stage for a new market segment in the UK.

Tyler Pearson is a markets correspondent at DL News based out of Alberta, Canada. Got a tip? Reach out at ty@dlnews.com.