The UK advertisement regulator ASA cracks its whip on FC Barcelona, banning its non-fungible token (NFT) ads, in a series of actions against crypto in public space.
FC Barcelona becomes the latest soccer club facing the wrath of the advertising regulator for an NFT traded at Sotheby. It was the first created by the legendary team, named Johan Cruyff’s 1973 impossible goal.
The club had paid for its Google search and labeled it in July. The creators of the NFT immortalized the goal and made it exclusive.
Creating an NFT requires the developer to follow specific guidelines set by the regulator. ASA pointed out the mistakes that the football club committed, starting with not putting a disclaimer that shows the risks of NFTs, the amount charged for viewing the NFT, and ownership rights.
ASA has prioritized ensuring that any entity or person investing in NFT follows the stipulated procedures. Barcelona defended creating the NFT and claimed it was not a financial product. Therefore, purchasing one could not amount to investment.
They contended that NFTs could not follow financial rules. The defense team informed ASA of the terms and conditions on the club’s official website and were willing to add them to Google ads, but the character limit could not allow them. They opted to leave them out.
In response, ASA acknowledged that NFTs are collectibles people or organizations have the right to create, but people can also own, sell and buy them, thus becoming investments. The regulator argued that NFTs pose risks to the customers and fans because they are new and there is less information about them in the market.
Past crackdown on NFTs in the UK
The authority censored Arsenal Football Club in 2021 after the team created ads that promoted tokens for crypto fans. The regulator accused Arsenal of flippant behavior towards crypto and a lack of stating the risks associated with the ads created.
In other past crackdowns, ASA brought down the TFL crypto campaign sponsored by Luno exchange for using a misleading and irresponsible campaign that coerced people to join and invest in unfettered financial products.
The crackdown continues as two more crypto ads, and the advertisement by Barcelona faced suppression this week. Crypto.com was the first to experience the ban after its Facebook ad that did not indicate fees applied and the risks of trading NFT.
ASA vowed to kick down any cryptocurrency ads that did not give proper explanations of the dangers that come with trading crypto. In an interview with The Financial Times, ASA, through its director, showed commitment to solving problems in the crypto industry.