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Michael Owen warned by regulator over crypto tweet

Michael Owen warned by regulator over crypto tweet
Former England footballer Michael Owen

Michael Owen has deleted a tweet promoting non-fungible tokens after being contacted by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Last month the former England footballer tweeted about his new NFT project, saying: "My NFTs will be the first ever that can't lose their initial value".

FTAdviser understands that, as part of a wide-ranging review of the issues surrounding NFT advertising, the ASA contacted Owen with a view to removing the ad.

The UK’s independent advertising regulator considered the overall impression of the ad, and concluded stating that NFTs cannot lose their initial value was likely to mislead customers.

The footballer was instructed not to exaggerate the guaranteed value of the product, and he subsequently deleted the tweet.

NFTs are touted as ‘one-off’ artworks stored on the blockchain, with their novelty and prestige being in the public traceability of proof of ownership. 

Most of the NFTs currently in circulation are based on the Ethereum blockchain, which is more than just a cryptocurrency as it allows for the creation of smart contracts by, among others, NFT creators. 

NFTs are not regulated, and earlier this year the FCA warned it has no oversight over cryptoassets and NFTs.

The FCA said: “There are no consumer protections for those who buy any cryptoassets and NFTs, and they are not FSCS protected. 

“As a result, if you buy cryptoassets you should be prepared to lose all the money you invest.”

sally.hickey@ft.com