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SEBI proposes banning celebrity promotion of cryptocurrency: Know how Salman Khan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Ranveer Singh and others endorsed it

A big lesson for investors, who fell for flashy crypto advertisements by their favourite Bollywood celebrities last year, is to do their own research and not follow the herd

May 25, 2022 / 01:43 PM IST
In October 2021, when cryptocurrency prices were soaring, we saw several Indian celebrities being associated with cryptocurrency exchanges endorsing investments in cryptocurrencies and also launching their non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that enabled fans to buy and trade in NFTs. The crypto exchanges believed endorsements from trusted personalities build awareness and trust for investing in cryptocurrencies, which is why many exchanges associated with celebrities to endorse cryptocurrencies and investment features.
In October 2021, when cryptocurrency prices were soaring, we saw several Indian celebrities being associated with cryptocurrency exchanges endorsing investments in cryptocurrencies and also launching their non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that enabled fans to buy and trade in NFTs. The crypto exchanges believed endorsements from trusted personalities build awareness and trust for investing in cryptocurrencies, which is why many exchanges associated with celebrities to endorse cryptocurrencies and investment features.

In February 2022, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory body of the advertising industry established in 1985, issued guidelines on celebrity endorsement of cryptocurrencies. They noticed that returns from crypto investments were being compared with existing regulated products, such as gold. That was unfair. Also, those advertisements did not highlight the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies.
In February 2022, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory body of the advertising industry established in 1985, issued guidelines on celebrity endorsement of cryptocurrencies. They noticed that returns from crypto investments were being compared with existing regulated products, such as gold. That was unfair. Also, those advertisements did not highlight the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies.
Crypto prices have seen a sharp fall in 2022, highlighting the risks and uncertainties of an unregulated instrument. Further, as per some media reports last week, capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has proposed to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance that celebrities should not be allowed to endorse cryptocurrencies. Let’s look at some of the glitzy crypto advertisements by your favourite celebrities in the recent past.
Crypto prices have seen a sharp fall in 2022, highlighting the risks and uncertainties of an unregulated instrument. Further, as per some media reports last week, capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has proposed to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance that celebrities should not be allowed to endorse cryptocurrencies. Let’s look at some of the glitzy crypto advertisements by your favourite celebrities in the recent past.
Ayushmann_f
In October 2021, CoinDCX a cryptocurrency exchange, signed up Ayushmann Khurrana to feature in their ad campaigns ‘Future Yahi Hai’ (This is the future), and to address key concerns surrounding crypto investments and myths related to cryptocurrencies. It aimed to educate millennial investors on the crypto being ‘Simple and Safe’ to invest in. On YouTube, one of the advertisements with Ayushmann Khurrana has garnered 23K views.
Ranveer Singh_f
CoinSwitch Kuber, a cryptocurrency exchange onboarded Ranveer Singh as brand ambassador in October 2021. Through this association, the crypto exchange aimed to leverage Ranveer Singh’s mass appeal, along with his popularity among the Gen Z and millennial investors. It featured him in three ad films for CoinSwitch Kuber’s ‘Kuch Toh Badlega’ campaign, which was premised on the possibility of change as one becomes a part of something bigger by entering the crypto world. Each of the ad films conveyed a different key trait of the exchange, including that investors can invest in Bitcoin with just Rs 100. On YouTube the first advertisement of Ranveer Singh has garnered 5.44 lakh views.

Salman Khan_f
In October 2021, Salman Khan unveiled $GARI, a crypto-token launched by micro-content, short video application Chingari, along with announcing his collaboration with the app as a brand ambassador for its NFT marketplace and token reward program on Twitter. His tweet garnered 3,299 retweets and on Twitter Salman Khan has 44.1 million followers. They also promoted the Gari tokens reward program in leading print media after the launch with Salman Khan.
Disha_f
Bollywood actress Disha Patani endorsed the CoinDCX platform on her social media and CoinDCX YouTube channel. In the promo, she discusses the features of CoinDCX investment platform and her journey of investing in cryptocurrency through this exchange. The CoinDCX YouTube channel has 106,000 subscribers.
Shivaji Satam_f
Bollywood veteran actor Shivaji Satam and actress Archana Puran Singh did the ad campaign for the Bitbns crypto exchange in November 2021. In ad campaigns, they discussed features and security of investing in cryptocurrencies through the Bitbns exchange. It endorsed Bitbns as the fastest and safest way to trade in Bitcoins. These ads have around 2,500 views for each video on Youtube.
Anupam Kher_f
Another Bollywood veteran actor Anupam Kher promoted a cryptocurrency on his YouTube channel. He said cryptocurrencies are emerging as a new asset class. He promoted WazirX crypto exchange in the campaign and mentions trading features, no hidden costs, etc. Also, he endorsed investing in crypto through WazirX exchange with just Rs 100. Anupam Kher has 17.7k subscribers on his YouTube channel.
Crypto Price crash_f
In the last year or so, many investors bought cryptocurrencies for the first time, as crypto prices hit new highs almost every day. Now, prices of cryptocurrencies have crashed. That’s a big lesson for investors, who fell for flashy crypto advertisements by their favourite Bollywood celebrities last year, to do their own research and not follow the herd. Financial planners advise investors to avoid investing in cryptos if they do not understand how cryptocurrencies work.
Hiral Thanawala is a personal finance journalist with 9 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, he covers financial planning, banking and fintech segments from personal finance team for Moneycontrol.
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