ASA slams “crypto masterclass” ad for misleading claims

Maria Nikolova

The UK Advertising Standards Authority has found that an ad by Fortune Academy about a cryptocurrency course program broke the CAP code.

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today issued a ruling against Fortune Academy over its misleading ad of a cryptocurrency training course.

The ad in question appeared on the website for Fortune Academy (fortuneacademy.co.uk) in August 2019. Text above a video entitled “Crypto Masterclass” stated “Habib has helped 700 students in 2017 create a wealth of £2.5 million amongst them!”. Text below stated “WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE TO SEE HOW HABIB, OUR CRYPTO TRAINER CAN HELP YOU WITH THIS LUCRATIVE INDUSTRY!”.

A complainant claimed the ad exaggerated the potential wealth the crypto currency course and investments could achieve and challenged whether the claim “Habib has helped 700 students in 2017 create a wealth of £2.5 million amongst them” was misleading and could be substantiated.

Fortune Academy did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries. This triggered the body’s concerns over Fortune Academy’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay).

The ASA upheld the complaint against this ad. This was because the body considered that consumers would interpret the claim “Habib has helped 700 students in 2017 create a wealth of £2.5 million amongst them” to mean that many students had completed the crypto currency course offered by Fortune Academy and, using the knowledge and techniques they had learned, had gone on to make successful financial investments.

The ASA considered consumers would infer that going on the course would typically enable them to make successful investments and achieve significant wealth. Because the body had not seen any evidence to substantiate the claim, it concluded that the claim was misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).

The advertising must not appear again in its current form. The ASA told Fortune Academy not to make claims that implied they had helped consumers achieve a high level of wealth because of the cryptocurrency course unless they held evidence to substantiate those claims. The matter has been referred to the CAP Compliance team.

This is not the first time the ASA acts against misleading crypto ads. In August this year, for instance, the body upheld complaints against cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX. The ASA concluded readers of the ad were likely to be misled about bitcoin’s value and stability in recent years and therefore about what any investments they might previously have made would have yielded.

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