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UK Ad Watchdog Rebukes Arsenal Over Crypto Promotion

Agency said football club’s promotion “trivialised investment in crypto-assets and took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity”

Arsenal defender Bden White, right, vies for possession with West Ham United midfielder Michail Antonio. Photo: AFP



The British advertising watchdog on Wednesday ruled against Arsenal Football Club’s promotion of “fan tokens” in the latest attempt by regulators to rein in the marketing of cryptocurrencies.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had investigated two Arsenal advertisements that ran online in August.

The ruling, which follows a series of similar measures last week, comes at a time when crypto services companies are ramping up their advertising to sport fans.

The agency said Arsenal’s promotion “trivialised investment in crypto-assets and took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity”.  It concluded that the ads were “irresponsible” in a ruling published on its website.

Arsenal this summer ran a promotion on its website and Facebook pages promoting its fan token under the ticker symbol $AFC, according to the ASA. The ad included a video featuring players Ben White, Calum Chambers and Kieran Tierney.

Fans wishing to purchase tokens, which allow holders to weigh in on official club decisions, needed to first buy a digital currency called Chiliz through the Socios crypto platform. The more tokens a fan owned, the greater weight their votes carry.

The advert on Arsenal’s website included some disclosures, including a warning that the price of the fan tokens is “dependent on supply and demand, and can therefore go up as well as down”.

It also indicated that holders “should be aware that they could lose some or all of their money invested”. The Facebook advert, which was posted later, did not include those warnings.

The ASA determined that the adverts were “misleading” in failing to highlight investment risk.

The ASA told the Financial Times last week that broadening its cryptocurrency rulings to include tokens would be at the top of their agenda for 2022.


  • George Russell




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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