Google is set to ban ads that are related to cryptocurrencies, wallets, initial coin offerings (ICOs), and crypto-related trading advice starting on June 2018. Specifically, according to its Advertising Policies, Google will no longer serve: “Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice)”. The change will inadvertently include even cryptocurrency companies with legitimate offerings.
Scott Spencer, the director of Google’s sustainable ads division, cited the reason for the change was due to the high likelihood of harm cryptocurrencies could bring to consumers. He explained, “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 move is similar to Facebook’s action on January this year when it banned ads on cryptocurrencies, bitcoins, and ICOs. However, some businesses managed to evade Facebook’s ad ban by mis-spelling words to escape Facebook’s scrutiny. Google took note of this detail and its spokeswoman declared that the company is prepared to workaround these loopholes. Besides cryptocurrency-related advertising, Google also targeted to restrict ads for financial products such as binary options.
In 2017 alone, Google claims that more than 3 billion ads that violated the company’s policies were taken down – a number that was almost double the ads removed the previous year. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has its main revenue source from advertising thus the importance of making advertisers feel that the search engine’s ecosystem is a haven for safety and efficacy.
Despite the ban, bitcoin reportedly pared a 2% advance after Google’s announcement. No change was seen during trading in Hong Kong where bitcoin stayed at $9,099. Cryptocurrencies also pared gains, specifically Ether and Ripple.