Even as the Indian government continues to work on the framework for crypto and NFT products, advertising for these products has been very aggressive over the past few months.
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) noted that several of these advertisements do not adequately disclose the risks associated with such products. In order to safeguard consumer interest, and to ensure that ads do not mislead or exploit consumers’ lack of expertise on these products, ASCI has extensively consulted with different stakeholders including government and the virtual digital asset industry – to frame guidelines for virtual digital asset advertising.
All ads for Virtual Digital Assets (VDAs) products and Virtual Digital Assets exchanges, or featuring VDAs, must carry the following disclaimer.
“Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions.”
The regulations also precisely define who the disclaimer should be must so that it is, "Prominent and unmissable by an average consumer."
Interestingly, the guidelines also states that, "Since this is a risky category, celebrities or prominent personalities who appear in VDA advertisements must take special care to ensure that they have done their due diligence about the statements and claims made in the advertisement, so as not to mislead consumers."
The guidelines will be applicable to all advertisements released or published on or after the 1st of April 2022.
Subhash Kamath, chairman, ASCI, said: “We had several rounds of discussion with the government, finance sector regulators, and industry stakeholders before framing these guidelines. Advertising of virtual digital assets and services needs specific guidance, considering that this is a new and as yet an emerging way of investing. Hence, there is a need to make consumers aware of the risks and ask them to proceed with caution”.
Manisha Kapoor, secretary general, ASCI, said: “We have seen a spate of advertising for virtual digital assets which could compromise consumer interest in the absence of some guardrails. Use of celebrities and high decibel advertising would attract consumers to these offerings, without full disclosure of the risks. Given that this is, as of now, an unregulated space, it is even more important for advertising to be upfront regarding the risks associated with these products. Globally, this is an emerging technology and products in the virtual digital asset industry have seen significant volatility. We believe with these guidelines, advertisements would be fairer and more transparent."
The guidelines can be accessed at