As part of efforts to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the mining of Bitcoin’s genesis block, BitMEX placed an advert on the front page of a national newspaper in the U.K., showing the bitcoin price movement between January 2009 to January 2019. The two-page graph has attracted criticisms from four individuals who feel the feature is misleading and the nation’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has taken sides with the complainants, according to a press release on August 14, 2019.
BitMEX Incurs the Wrath of ASA
As stated in a press release by the ASA, four entities have filed complaints against HDR Global Trading, the parent company of BitMEX, a bitcoin and altcoin trading venue that claims to offer users super-fast trade execution, Bitcoin futures contracts, and 100x leverage.
Specifically, the complainants accused BitMEX exchange of misleading the U.K people through the ad placed on a national tabloid earlier in January 2019, depicting how the price of bitcoin has grown exponentially since January 2009.
The ASA said:
“The Graph’s horizontal axis was divided and labeled into six-month units showing dates between January 2009 and January 2019. The vertical axis was labeled ‘Bitcoin Price in US Dollars’ separated by decimal point value increments from $0.0001 to $100,00.The graph depicted a sudden surge in the price of Bitcoin after July 2010. The highest value recorded on the graph was of more than $10,000 between July 2017 and January 2018.”
According to ASA, the complainants argued that the advert in question misled investors by exaggerating Bitcoin’s return on investment, while also failing to properly illustrate the risks associated with the investment.
In response to the allegations, BitMEX reportedly stated in clear terms that the advert wasn’t placed for promotional purposes, neither did it offer a financial product despite the fact that the ad stated “advertisement” at the top of the page.
Instead, it’s merely the commemoration of a significant milestone in the cryptocurrency industry, adding that “any optimism represented by the ad referred primarily to the security and robustness of the Bitcoin blockchain.”
The ASA, on the other hand, upheld the complaints of the four individuals on the grounds that the BitMex ad did not properly depict the Bitcoin price volatility and readers were likely to interpret the graph to mean that bitcoin had seen a steady growth in value right from its early years up to its all-time-high in 2017.
It’s worth noting that this is not the first time BitMEX is appearing in the news due to friction with a government parastatal.
Earlier in July 2019, reports emerged that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was pointing its searchlight into the operations of BitMEX to find out whether the platform conducted shady deals as alleged by Nouriel Roubini.