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South Africa adds new cryptocurrency standards to advertising code

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South Africa’s Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has included a new clause for the cryptocurrency industry aimed at protecting consumers from unethical advertising.Companies and individuals in South Africa must abide by certain advertising standards pertaining to the provision of cryptocurrency products and services in a new clause introduced to Section III of the country’s advertising code.The first clause requires that adverts, including cryptocurrency offerings, must ‘expressly and clearly’ state that investments may result in the loss of capital ‘as the value is variable and can go up as well as down.’ Furthermore, adverts must not contradict warnings about potential investment losses.Advertising for particular services and products must be explained in an ‘easily understandable’ manner for intended audiences.

Adverts must also give balanced messages around returns, features, benefits and risks associated with the associated product or service.Rates of returns, projections or forecasts must also be adequately substantiated, including how these are calculated and what conditions apply to touted returns.

Any information relating to past performance cannot be used to promise future performance or returns, and should not be presented in a way that creates ‘a favourable impression of the advertised product or service.’Adverts from cryptocurrency service providers that are not registered credit providers should not encourage the acquisition of cryptocurrencies using credit.

However this does not preclude the advertising of associated payment methods provided by service providers.Social media influencers and brand ambassadors will also be expected to comply with certain advertising standards.

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