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Google will ban all cryptocurrency-related ads starting this June


Mach1

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There are plenty of cryptocurrency-related products, services, and advice on the web that range from ‘suspicious’ to ‘scam.’ In an attempt to protect users from risk, Google is banning all online ads promoting cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings starting in June.

Google announced that the restrictions would appear in its updated financial products policy, which will also see it ban ads for cryptocurrency wallets and trading advice. The restrictions cover online advertisements for other risky financial services, too, including binary options.

"We don't have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we've seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it's an area that we want to approach with extreme caution," Google's director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, told CNBC.

Google’s decision comes after Facebook recently banned ads for financial products and services that are frequently associated with deceptive or misleading promotional practices. These include binary options, ICOs, and all cryptocurrencies.

The update means users won’t see crypto-related ads on Google’s services or sites that feature Google ads. Some businesses attempt to get around Facebook’s rules by purposely misspelling words such as “bitcoin” in their ads, but Google said it would try to anticipate tricks like this.

The announcement also appeared within Google’s “bad ads” report, in which the company said it removed 3.2 billion malicious, deceptive and controversial advertisements from the web in 2017—an increase from the 1.7 billion it scrubbed in 2016.

Initial coin offerings have come under increased scrutiny recently due to their high failure rate. According to tracker Tokendata (via Bitcoin.com), 46 percent of its 902 listed ICOs that took place last year have failed. If you include those that have “semi-failed” because the team has stopped all communications on social media, or because the project has no chance of success due to the community being so small, the figure rises to 59 percent. Yet these 531 failed or failing ICOs managed to raise $233 million between them

 

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Google is clamping down on cryptocurrency ads in June

 

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Google has announced that it is going to do a shake-up on the types of adverts it will allow to be delivered via its network. One such market that will take a hit is that of cryptocurrencies and related content such as initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, crytocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice.

In the announcement, Google said:

“In June 2018, Google will update the Financial services policy to restrict advertisement of Contracts for Difference, rolling spot forex, and financial spread betting. In addition, ads for the following will no longer be allowed to serve:

  • Binary options and synonymous products
  • Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice)”

In order to advertise Contracts for Difference, rolling spot forex, and financial spread betting services on AdWords, companies will require certification from Google. To get Google certification, advertisers need to be licensed with the relevant financial service authority in each country they want to advertise in; they need to ensure their ads and landing pages comply with AdWords policies; and they need to comply with relevant legal requirement, including those related to complex speculative financial products. Certification can be requested from March 2018.

Speaking on the decision, Google’s director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, said:

“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm of potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.”

Earlier this year, Facebook announced a similar decision to ban ads for cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings and binary options. Both companies’ decision are fairly wise at this point in time because of the lack of regulation of the market, and the general lack of knowledge on the part of potential customers with regards to the technology. Hopefully, the decisions will be reversed in time as countries begin to regulate the market.

 

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Reddit says it has banned cryptocurrency ads since 2016 :P

Tech companies like Facebook and Google, have recently announced that they’re banning ads for digital currencies. It turns out that Reddit has been banning cryptocurrency ads since early 2016, but just never announced it outright in a press release, as first spotted by Motherboard. Today, Reddit extended its policy, to block cryptocurrency-related Google cached ads as well.

 

The banning might seem odd, given that Reddit is a burgeoning platform for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, and given its nature as an anonymous open-discourse forum. There are many subreddits that discuss the various cryptocurrencies and nuances behind mining, investing in different currencies, accessing the dark web, and even posts by Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and Litecoin founder Charlie Lee on updates to the currencies.

 

Reddit told The Verge in a statement, “Ads for cryptocurrencies and ICOs have not been allowed on Reddit since early 2016...Sections II.5 and II.6 of our advertising policy prohibit ‘improbable, or unsubstantiated financial products and services’ and ‘the promotion or advertisement of single securities or other tradeable financial assets.’”

 

Still, for a time that only meant ads served by Reddit and it didn’t apply to Google-generated ads that are personalized to your cookies. So if a user had browsed a lot of initial coin offerings and investments, those services could appear in a Google-served ad on Reddit. Now that Google has banned cryptocurrency ads and Reddit has blocked those cryptocurrency advertisers, the social media market for digital coin ads is shrinking.

 

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Looks like Twitter is next...

 

Twitter may be the next to ban cryptocurrency ads

Twitter may soon join Facebook and Google in cracking down on ads for cryptocurrency-related products. Sky sources have claimed the social network will institute worldwide ban against ads for initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency wallets and token sales within the next two weeks. It might also ban ads for cryptocurrency exchanges with "some limited exceptions," according to the apparent leak.

 

The company told Engadget it had no comment at the moment.

 

While the tipsters didn't provide Twitter's exact reasoning, it's likely to be the same as for the site's peers: it doesn't want to knowingly put users at risk. Many ICOs and token sales have uncertain prospects, and in the worst cases are take-the-money-and-run scams. Meld that with the threat of hackers and there's a real chance investors will lose money, with little recourse if things go sour. More regulations are likely coming, but that's not much comfort to Twitter, Google and others who face pressure to protect their users while the crypto market remains a wild frontier.

 

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