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Bitcoin 'time to buy' ad banned in the UK for being irresponsible

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An advert for bitcoin on a bus in London’s West End.Barry Lewis | In Pictures | Getty Images

LONDON — An advertising campaign telling people in the U.K. “it’s time to buy” bitcoin has been banned by the nation’s advertising regulator for being irresponsible and misleading.

Posters for cryptocurrency exchange service Luno — shown across the London Underground network and on London buses this year — contained a cartoon image of a bitcoin with the words “If you’re seeing Bitcoin on the Underground, it’s time to buy.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said Wednesday that the ads must not appear again in their current form and that they failed to highlight the risks.

It comes a week after the price of bitcoin collapsed by 30% in a single day, leaving many retailer investors who had bought bitcoin significantly out of pocket. It also comes two weeks after the Bank of England governor said cryptocurrency investors should be prepared to lose all their money.

The watchdog said that it received four complaints concerning the ad. Three of them were from people who believed the ad failed to illustrate the risk of the investment and accused it of being misleading. One said the ad took advantage of