Microsoft’s search engine Bing, will be changing its financial product and services policy to block cryptocurrency related ads in an attempt to protect users. The changes will come into effect in late June to early July.
Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo the advertiser policy manager of Bing stated: “Because cryptocurrency and related products are not regulated, we have found them to present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviors, or otherwise scam consumers”.
Bing is the latest large platform to ban cryptocurrency ads
Bing is the latest to step in and make a change in how we view cryptocurrency products and initial coin offerings (ICO). Prior Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have all made similar advances towards the same goal. Rob Leathern, Product Management Director of Facebook, previously expressed: “We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICO’s and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”
The ban, which is very broad and may seem like an attack on the community is due to an inability to identify products and ICO’s that are deceptive in nature. “Google’s decision to ban cryptocurrency ads is an implicit acknowledgement that they cannot identify legitimate projects in this space at scale,” says Paul Makowski, chief technology officer of malware-detection startup PolySwarm.
Industry sources believe that the bans may be revoked once US regulatory bodies put policies in place to moderate these products. With no telling how long this could take, the loss of publicity is likely to have a damaging effect on the market and companies involved.
ICO’s or IC-a-scam
With an excess of 900 ICO’s launched in 2017 raising billions of dollars for their promoters, this growing market creates opportunities for everyone as well as the con artists. With little regulation to protect investors, it’s a golden opportunity for those who are looking to defraud the public.
BTCC CEO and founder Bobby Lee stated in an interview with Business Insider: “It’s just too risky. It just doesn’t make sense to invest in those guys. Maybe I’ll change my mind next month, next year, I don’t know.” Lee is among many in supporting more regulation around ICO’s.
Fabric Ventures and TokenData reports detail that as few as 435 ICOs were successful out of a total 913 last year. With small time investors making considerable gains, you can see why the opportunity is enticing, “On average, tokens have returned 12.8x the initial investment in dollar terms versus 7.7x for ETH and 4.9x for BTC during 2017,” the report notes. Mangrove Capital Partners recorded returns of up to 1,320% from ICO’s by October 2017.
For the time being search engines and media platforms have opted to protect the public against the growing rise of crypto-related crime. As new legislation and regulatory powers are introduced we could see a change of heart and a return of cryptocurrency advertisements, promoting legitimate companies.
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