BACC to issue guidelines for crypto advertising

BACC to issue guidelines for crypto advertising
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Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), a part of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), plans to introduce a set of guidelines for advertising about crypto trading. The industry representative body also plans to come up with a roadmap for self-regulation on aspects of governance, cybersecurity among other issues that concern stakeholders.

“There are five to six aspects we are looking at as a roadmap for the industry. The guidelines on advertising got accelerated as the industry has been growing faster,” Naveen Surya, advisory board member at BACC told TechCircle.

The guidelines on advertising will debut as part of a broader self-regulatory framework, which will apply to all members of the BACC group, including WazirX, CoinSwitch Kuber, ZebPay, and others. They will be aimed at ensuring investor awareness as well as protection from the risks associated with cryptocurrencies -- which is a riskier asset class than stocks or mutual funds.

“India’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges are already working with the BACC to set up an advisory board to implement a code of conduct for the industry. We will ultimately do what the industry best practice is, and everyone will have a similar guideline,” Nischal Shetty, CEO at Binance-owned WazirX, told TechCircle.

While the advertising guidelines are still in the works, BACC members confirmed that they are expected to be issued in the next seven to ten days. 

The guidelines may include a standardized disclaimer for OTT and television ads along with directives on the do’s and don'ts, Sharan Nair, chief business officer at CoinSwitch Kuber, said. This disclaimer is likely to include certain words such as “volatility” which would signal the risk involved in crypto trading. 

“The advisory group has not yet accepted an approach on whether the promotion will incorporate voice-overs, which is an obligatory practice in the ads for mutual funds,” Shetty said. There are over 7 million users who are in the industry and looking forward to the guidelines, he added.

Earlier this month, two advocates had filed a petition against WazirX, Coinswitch Kuber and CoinDCX over disclaimer-less advertising that could put retail investors at risk. In response, the platforms claimed that they already show disclaimers with TV ads.

“The Advertising Standards Council of India already has guidelines in place for all investment adverts and we already comply with those guidelines and welcome every feedback,” Shetty said. 

Further there is no clear regulatory body designated to regulate the cryptocurrency space in India. While the industry body is of the opinion that the cryptocurrency exchange should be regulated by SEBI or a specialised body, financial regulator RBI has previously said that all private cryptocurrencies should be banned, while Central bank Digital Currencies will be acceptable in the country.