Monday, May 16

Avoid veiled advertising about bitcoin, a goal of the CNMV of Spain


Key facts:
  • Influencers from Spain can face fines of 300,000 euros for breaking the regulations.

  • The opinions on cryptocurrencies will not be supervised by the CNMV, if there is no payment involved.

“There would be a back door to escape regulation if influencers had not been included in the regulation,” the president of the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), Rodrigo Buenaventura, said in a recent statement to the media.

The official justifies with this sentence the inclusion of individuals who make promotions on social networks, in the new CNMV regulations that will regulate advertising about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in Spain, and that It will come into effect on February 17..

“This is unknown territory for both us and them, and there will be friction, as there always is when you introduce laws into something that has not been governed before,” Buenaventura added during a interview with the Financial Times.

Advertising

He also considers that the new regulations will help structure the way in which cryptocurrencies are promoted, not only through the campaigns launched by companies in traditional media but mainly through so-called influencers who act in social networks.

The objective of the CNMV, according to Buenaventura’s remarks, is to avoid “veiled and misleading” advertising about cryptocurrencies through the activity of influencers.

Messages like the one from Iniesta will not be accepted

The inclusion of influencers as subjects of the regulations means that actions such as those carried out last year by the famous Spanish footballer, Andrés Iniesta, will be subject to penalties of up to 300,000 euros, as established by the regulation that was announced on January 17.

“I’m learning how to start with cryptocurrencies with @BinanceES #BinanceForAll”, said the athlete in a tweet last November while appearing next to a device with the logo of one of the most well-known exchanges for the investment of crypto assets. The message was part of an advertising campaign.

As CriptoNoticias reported at the time, Iniesta’s letter caused an almost immediate reaction from the CNMV, which recommended that he include in his message a warning about the risk that —according to this entity— cryptocurrencies have. This, even though the rule that regulates the advertising of cryptocurrencies had not been published.

Now, with the recently approved regulations, the inclusion of that warning about the risks It would be mandatory for both Iniesta and any other influencer, as long as they are getting paid for the promotion and have more than 100,000 followers.

The regulation requires these promoters to include “clear, fair, unbiased and non-misleading remarks about the dangers of cryptocurrencies”, explicitly pointing out the fact that investments in cryptocurrencies are not regulated, according to the new laws of Spain.

In addition, they must include a link to additional information which will be identified with the text: “It is important to read and understand the risks of this investment which are explained in detail in this location”.

The CNMV has been publishing a thread of Tweets explaining to the public the scope of the new regulations.

Legend. The CNMV has been publishing a thread of Tweets explaining to the public the scope of the new regulations.

Exempt from complying with this requirement are those who broadcast messages related to cryptocurrencies on their own, without receiving any remuneration for it and with less than 100,000 followers. Thus, unpaid opinions are excluded from the rule as they are considered as freedom of expression.

What type of promotion is outside the supervision of the CNMV?

According to statements made by some CNMV spokespersons, the regulations will not affect certain professional activities such as the launch of white papers or publications on crypto assets issued by market analysts, as well as those related to non-fungible tokens (NFT).

They will also be outside the scope of the standard, corporate campaigns, technical seminars, and advertising on crypto assets based on financial instruments that due to their characteristics are not subject to investment.

This would be the case when cryptocurrency platforms sponsor sports competitions and events “if the messages do not include direct invitations for investment.” If they focus only on corporate promotion, they are excluded from the supervision of the CNMV.

The same is true if a sports event or team only includes the name of a crypto asset investment company on a t-shirt or other object, for example, without encouraging people to invest.

Spain sets the pace in the European Union

Once the rules that will regulate the advertising of cryptocurrencies in Spain are known, the media from several countries of the European Union have been highlighting the Spanish initiative. They consider that the Iberian country is setting the path to follow in this matter.

The approval of the regulations, which the CNMV spent a year preparing, had repercussions in other countries in the region. Just this week the UK government reported that the Financial Conduct Authority is working on legislation to combat deceptive marketing of crypto assets.

Last year the Advertising Standards Authority took action against cryptocurrency ads made by companies such as Crypto.com and Coinbase exchnages, including Papa Johns and Arsenal Football Club promotions. There was also a call to ban “unethical” cryptocurrency advertisements on the subway.



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