In March 2018, Google posted that it would be banning any and all advertisements involving cryptocurrency from its AdSense and AdWords advertising platforms in June 2018, and now the time of reckoning has come.
Google’s new financial products policy explicitly states that the ban will include but not be limited to initial coin offerings (ICOs), cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice. This is a thorough blanket ban of all cryptocurrency ads through Google’s advertising platform, which is the largest provider of internet ads. Google advertising revenue exceeded USD 27 billion for quarter 4 of 2017, 84% of all of Google’s revenue, and is on track to exceed USD 100 billion per year.
Due to the massive size of Google’s advertising services and its dependency on it for most of its money, Google must ensure advertisers that it is a safe and wholesome advertising ecosystem. This means nothing illegal should be advertised, including scams of any sort, since that would make people distrust Google ads.
Unfortunately, there has been a significant number of cryptocurrency-related scams commonly involving ponzi schemes like Bitconnect and OneCoin where investors are guaranteed unrealistic profits, but in reality are only paid from new funds entering the system until the system eventually collapses.
With the rise of ICOs, there have been plenty of scams that have promised a new cryptocurrency to investors but instead disappearing with investments and releasing nothing. Pincoin defrauded investors of USD 660 million, for example.
Even cryptocurrency exchange advertisements can be scams; scammers have been known to set up fake cryptocurrency exchanges that look legitimate. The same technique can be used to make fake Bitcoin wallet websites that steal access to legitimate wallets.
Google has probably grown tired of dealing with complaints and lawsuits from users of their ads regarding cryptocurrency scams, which is likely a contributing factor to the ban. It would be easier for Google to just ban everything involving cryptocurrency than to dedicate a team to filter through cryptocurrency ads to determine authenticity.
Although many will find it unfair and unfortunate that legitimate cryptocurrency businesses will no longer have access to the biggest advertising platform on the internet, some see this development as positive for the industry. No longer will scammers be able to snare victims by purchasing Google ads, and any legitimate services can advertise themselves on other platforms such as BitcoinTalk and Reddit.
The reality is, if a cryptocurrency company is truly legitimate and its products and services are valuable, it should be able to grow without purchasing the help of advertising.
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