Crypto ad ban shakes up operators

Crypto ad ban shakes up operators

Digital exchanges want more clarity

A sign promotes a cryptocurrency exchange at Victory Monument yesterday, following the SEC's proposal to ban cryptocurrency advertisements in public spaces. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
A sign promotes a cryptocurrency exchange at Victory Monument yesterday, following the SEC's proposal to ban cryptocurrency advertisements in public spaces. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

Digital exchange operators say they agree with some of the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) proposals to tighten regulations on cryptocurrency advertising, but will need further clarification as criteria for some issues are confusing.

The reaction followed the SEC's announcement on Feb 14 that it was calling a public hearing to collect opinions on its proposals to ban public cryptocurrency advertising and improve all criteria related to such advertising. The hearing is set to end on March 15.

According to the SEC's statement, cryptocurrency advertising must not feature exaggerated, distorted or misleading information. It must be clear, appropriate and specify risks associated with cryptocurrency investment in text and font sizes as prescribed by the SEC, in addition to advertised benefits.

The advertisement of cryptocurrencies will be limited to the official channels of business operators, according to the proposals. Ads in public areas will be prohibited, though ads about services can still be done in public areas and via other channels.

Operator must control and supervise their advertising, said the SEC. Group companies that are not regulated by the SEC and persons involved in advertising such as shareholders, directors, executives or other persons such as advertisers and influencers must also comply with the rules, said the regulator.

Peeradej Tanruangporn, president of the Thai Digital Asset Operators Trade Association (TDO) and chief executive of Upbit Thailand, said he agreed on some points raised by the SEC, but certain issues require clarification.

For example, he said it's unclear whether public online spaces such as social media are included in the ban.

Mr Peeradej said the ban on advertising the faces of executive owners is not possible and operators will need more clarity from the SEC on the scope of the ban.

Proud Limpongpan, chief marketing officer at Zipmex, said compared with the SEC's proposed criteria, regulations in Singapore and England are considerably more stringent.

She said Zipmex has a lot of billboard badges and the company needs to determine if its advertisements will pass SEC muster.

The company has until March 15 to prepare and adjust its ads, said Ms Proud.

"While other criteria regarding the use of influencers and public space still needs clarification, Zipmex has asked the SEC and received confirmation that advertising about depositing coins and earning from Bitcoin is not possible in public spaces anymore," she said.

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