Google is banning all cryptocurrency and ICO related advertisements starting June. This comes hot in the heels of a similar move by Facebook earlier this year. The move is meant to protect consumers from harmful advertising practices, the company said in a statement.
In an update to its financial services policy, the ban will also affect other financial products including rolling spot forex and financial spread betting regarded as highly risky.
“Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice,” will now be banned the new policy states.
Aggregators and affiliates using Google Ads and will also be barred from hosting cryptocurrency-related material.
Google is also at ways to deal with advertisements circumventing this policy by misspelling words.
The internet company is effectively disabling any ads related to cryptocurrencies on its site as well as other sites using Google Ads.
While the move is meant to protect consumers, it will directly affect legitimate companies with cryptocurrency related content.
Speaking to CNBC Scott Spencer, Google’s Director in charge of sustainable ads 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 or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.’
A post by the Scott Spencer shows that it brought down over 3 billion ads in 2017 and blacklisted 70,000 mobile and 90,000 websites.
“In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of scammers trying to take advantage of the growing popularity of online news to make money. We prohibit websites in our ad network from serving ads on misrepresentative content,” Scott said in the post.
Facebook cited deceptive promotional activities when its announced its own ban on ICOs and other crypto-related advertising.
Bitcoin prices dipped slightly in the wake of the announcement on Wednesday. Leading altcoins ethereum and Ripple also tumbled just as several other cryptocurrencies that usually follow their market action.
Google Ads users were already reporting a drop in the performance of their cryptocurrency campaigns even before the ban.
In a signal of more crackdowns to come, the internet giant said advertisers will in future be required to seek regulatory approval in their respective countries before being allowed to advertise on their platform.
“Our work to protect the ads ecosystem doesn’t stop here—it’s ongoing. As consumer trends evolve, as our methods to protect the open web get better, so do online scams,” he said.
Cryptocurrencies have been coming under increased regulatory scrutiny in the past few weeks. Last week, the SEC sanctioned exchanged for misrepresenting themselves as regulated by the agency. Subpoenas have already been issued against some exchanges in the US.
In Japan, a number of exchanges were penalized for breaches ranging from inadequate security measures to safeguard customer deposits to frequent glitches.
Cryptocurrencies enjoyed a massive rise in popularity after its rapid gain in value. Bitcoin was valued at $1000 in January 2017 but ended the year at close to $20,000. Other such as ripple shot 36,000% in the same period as more and more people scrambled to get hold of the digital assets.
Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs have become a popular way for bootstrap companies to raise funds without the tight regulatory scrutiny. It is estimated that at least $4 billion was raised in 2017 alone through ICOs. During the same period, an estimated $188 billion was raised through the more traditional IPOs