(Bloomberg) -- The UK’s financial regulator tightened rules around marketing of cryptoassets, including banning the so-called “refer a friend” bonuses that are popular in the industry. 

The Financial Conduct Authority also introduced a 24-hour “cooling off” period for first-time crypto investors, effective from Oct. 8, it said in a statement on Thursday. The FCA already uses such a mechanism for other investments it considers high-risk. 

Regulators around the world are stepping up oversight of cryptocurrencies, seeking to address everything from poor money-laundering controls to nonexistent investor protections and outright fraud. The UK is formulating a broader set of cryptoasset rules, while the European Union recently passed its landmark Markets in Cryptoassets (MiCA) regulation. 

“Consumers should still be aware that crypto remains largely unregulated and high risk,” Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumers and competition at the FCA, said in the statement. “Those who invest should be prepared to lose all their money.”  

Crypto ownership more than doubled to 10% in the UK between 2021 and 2022, the FCA said, citing a recent survey. 

The cooling-off period starts when a potential investor responds to crypto marketing materials by requesting additional information, the FCA said. The entity marketing the investment must then wait 24 hours before responding. 

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