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This photo illustration shows a Vietnamese cryptocurrency investor looking at the latest Bitcoin values on a smartphone in Hanoi on April 12, 2018.

An ad promoting bitcoin was blocked by a British regulator — for what literally amounted to a chart crime.

Crypto exchange BitMEX produced an ad in the Times of London commemorating the 10th anniversary of the mining of the initial block of bitcoin












BTCUSD, +0.32%










 , showing the growth of the value. (The Times is owned by News Corp., as is MarketWatch, the publisher of this report.)

The problem, to the Advertising Standards Authority (and perhaps to the four people who brought a complaint) was that the chart showing bitcoin’s growth was on a logarithmic scale.

That is, after zero the scale went to 1, then 10, then 1000, up to 100,000, unlike an arithmetic scale which would increase by the same amount each time.

The regulator acknowledged that “such scales were a valid and useful way of presenting data” but said “in the absence of clear explanatory information, the graph was unlikely to be familiar or readily understandable to the national newspaper audience to whom the ad was directed.”

The sanction wasn’t too severe — BitMEX is not allowed to run the ad again in its current form.

Categories: Bitcoin

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