Many finance industry executives have voiced their opinions on the recent decision by Google, following Facebook’s similar move, to ban cryptocurrency advertising.
In March 2018, Google issued a statement announcing that cryptocurrency-focused promotional content would no longer be allowed on all of its platforms. According to the statement, the ban covers adverts for ICOs, exchange platforms, and wallet services.
According to the Independent, CEO of digital banking startup Revolut, Philip Nunn, can only see the hypocrisy in the decision, arguing, “I understand that Facebook and Google are under a lot of pressure to regulate what their users are reading, but they are still advertising gambling websites and other unethical practices.”
Google’s decision to ban all Bitcoin and cryptocurrency adverts on its platforms is ill-thought-out and potentially even unethical, according to industry experts. The policy coming into force this month follows its blog post in March, stating: “Ads for the following will no longer be allowed to serve… cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice”.
Nun sees the ban as Google simply clearing the way for their own products: “I suspect the ban has been implemented to fit in with potential plans to introduce their own cryptocurrency to the market in the near future and therefore removing other crypto adverts allows them to do it on their own terms.”
Legitimate advertisers in the space will clearly be affected by the changes, as Ed Cooper of Revolut predicts: “Unfortunately, the fact that this ban is a blanket ban will mean that legitimate cryptocurrency businesses which provide valuable services to users will be unfairly caught in the crossfire.”
Cooper also pointed out that scams are not exclusively the domain of the cryptocurrency market, as false advertisements are rife on the internet, most of them untouched by Google, who has shown no desire to implement a filtering system in order to reduce the frequency of such advertising.
There are of course tricks advertisers can employ to circumvent the restrictions, as Facebook has discovered following their own ban, such as, abbreviating “cryptocurrency” to “c-currency” and replacing the “o” in Bitcoin with a zero.
In May, Google reportedly approached the founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, in the hope of potentially securing his services, reports the Independent. Google has declined to comment on the ban or any cryptocurrency ambitions it may have, however, the company commented in March that it was looking into the technology:
“Like many new technologies, we have individuals in various teams exploring the potential use of blockchain, but it’s too early for us to speculate about any possible uses or plans.”
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