Google will be banning all ads related to cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings on its search engine. The ban will take effect from June 2018 onwards and will also include all advice related to cryptocurrency. This move mirrors a similar ban by Facebook, last year, in a bid to prevent all cryptocurrency promotions which could turn out to be Ponzi schemes for investors.
Although Google has not given any specific reasons for the ban, the update in its policy coincides with regulators in the US scrutinizing all cryptocurrency-related projects which advertise unrealistic investment opportunities to deceive investors.
The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission has issued several warnings about increasing efforts to monitor initial coin offerings, which might appear dubious in the government’s view. This ban will also apply to companies with legitimate cryptocurrency-related offerings.
Although cryptocurrency has produced a lot of wealth, the arena still remains relatively unregulated and has resulted in countless scams which promised wealth to potential investors. One of the more prolific of scams is Bitconnect, which has openly been accused of running a Ponzi scheme by Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin.
Google will be also taking down more than 3.2 billion ads from 2017, which seem to be violating its policies. This is almost twice the number, from the 1.7 billion ads they removed in 2016. Google’s ad revenues contribute around 84 percent to parent company Alphabet’s earnings, despite having several different businesses. This means that they have to convince advertisers that Google Ad’s ecosystem is both safe and effective.
The crackdown on cryptocurrency-related advertisements makes sense in the light of Google’s policies on improving their ad experience. The search engine giant claimed in a blog post that they wanted to filter out all harmful ads from their platform. “Improving the ad experience across our platform will continue to be a top priority for us,” says Scott Spencer, who is director of sustainable ads at Google.
The crackdown on cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and governments around the world have taken stringent measures to clamp down on what they perceive as scams. China has decided to block all websites which offer cryptocurrency trading and ICOs. Their ban extends to foreign platforms as well. South Korea follows suit by preparing a bill which will completely ban domestic cryptocurrency trading.
The price of Bitcoin also fell by about 9 percent immediately after Google announced its intentions to crack down on cryptocurrency ads. Bitcoin prices plummeted by about 12 percent in January, when Facebook announced its ban. All of this lends further evidence regarding the fact that the value of cryptocurrency is tied to local and international events, and there is no predicting what could happen in the immediate future.
Here’s what Scott Spencer told CNBC; “We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we have seen enough harm to consumers or potential consumer harm that it’s an area we would want to approach with extreme caution.”