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Letter: rule crypto like gambling, not investing

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I commend the FT for its coverage of the crypto publicity debate (“’Meme coin’ Floki’s marketing blitz polled by ad watchdog,” report, November 18). This raises regulatory questions for both advertising and financial authorities, but I wonder if either of these two entities is the appropriate regulatory venue for such a debate.

The very small print on the Floki ad that I saw says, “Your investment may go down as well as up. . . “the key word being” investment “.

Floki and his kind investments? By what definition? Who can tell? Governments around the world are slowly caught in the hype around crypto as they conceptualize investment style regulation for such assets, almost guaranteeing acceptance as investments. Without intrinsic value, isn’t buying Floki more of a game than an investment? We could quibble about the game and the stats, but players know they’re not investing, they’re taking a chance.

I don’t want to ruin anyone’s party. So good luck to those players who are afraid of losing their chance and want to play with Floki et al. But let’s call it that. There is an established set of advertising principles for gambling that should cover most crypto. Why recreate a whole new regime for already overburdened advertising and financial regulators?

Peter D Hahn
Emeritus professor of banking and finance
The London Institute of Banking & Finance, London EC4, United Kingdom