UK Regulates Memes on Crypto and Investments to Combat Scams from ‘Finfluencers’

Britain’s financial services regulator has issued guidelines for financial services firms and social media influencers who create memes related to cryptocurrencies and other investments to address a surge in scams.

“Any marketing for financial products — including those expressed in memes — should be fair, clear, and not misleading,” stated the Financial Conduct Authority on Tuesday.

The watchdog emphasized that financial social media influencers, dubbed “finfluencers,” must obtain approval from an FCA-appointed representative before sharing advertisements and memes about financial products and services.

“Promotions aren’t just about the likes, they’re about the law. We will take action against those touting financial products illegally,” remarked Lucy Castledine, director of consumer investments at the FCA.

UK Regulates Memes on Crypto and Investments to Combat Scams from 'Finfluencers'
Crypto memes widely used on platforms like Telegram and Reddit face FCA scrutiny for compliance with financial regulations.

She highlighted the importance of considering whether platforms with limited characters or space are suitable for promoting complex products. In 2022, the FCA removed over 10,000 misleading adverts about financial services.

“Promotional crypto memes” are extensively utilized in the cryptocurrency sector, as highlighted by the regulator. These memes are particularly prominent on Telegram, a favored platform among digital currency enthusiasts, and are also prevalent on Reddit, a major hub for crypto discussions.

The FCA has observed promotions leveraging memes to generate excitement around specific investments in chatrooms like Reddit and Telegram.

UK Regulates Memes on Crypto and Investments to Combat Scams from 'Finfluencers'
FCA intensifies measures against crypto advertising, requiring firms to be authorized or approved for promoting consumer crypto investment.

Notably, the FCA emphasized that financial promotions on these platforms are still subject to its regulations, underscoring the need for users to exercise caution.

This initiative forms part of the FCA’s broader efforts to combat the surge in financial scams, which escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic as more individuals resorted to online channels for banking and investment purposes.

Notably, the FCA has intensified its scrutiny of crypto advertising, instituting measures in October 2023 that mandate firms promoting consumer crypto investment in the U.K. to be authorized or registered with the regulator or to have their marketing endorsed by an authorized entity.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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