With Google’s ban on cryptocurrency advertising set to formally come into full effect this month, many representatives of the cryptocurrency and investment industries have spoken out against the company’s move.
Google Ban Expected to Come Into Effect This Month
Google announced that it would ban cryptocurrency advertising on its platform in March, following numerous anecdotal reports of declining ad performance on the company’s platforms from companies promoting initial coin offerings (ICOs). The move followed the implementation of similar advertising restrictions on Facebook.
The post stated that ads promoting “Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice” would no longer be served on the company’s platforms “In June.”
Business Community Criticizes Crypto Ad Ban
The prohibitive policy regarding cryptocurrency adverts has garnered criticism from the community.
Revolut’s head of mobile, Ed Cooper, stated of the ban “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. A more targeted approach would definitely be preferable: it would seem heavy-handed for example to put a blanket ban on all ads for job postings, anti-virus software or charities just because ads for these products and service are also sometimes used as an entry point by scammers to target consumers.”
The chief executive of UK-based investment firm Blackmore Group has accused Google of banning cryptocurrency ads due to harboring intentions of developing its own cryptocurrency. “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. 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.”
Whilst no hard evidence of Google having expressed a desire to develop a cryptocurrency exists, a spokesperson for the company told Business Insider “Like many new technologies, we have individuals in various teams exploring potential uses of blockchain but it’s way too early for us to speculate about any possible uses or plans” in March. In May, Ethereum’s founder, Vitalik Buterin, shared a screenshot of an email from Google’s recruiting department, further fueling speculation that Google may be considering a foray into distributed ledger technology.
Google as “Gatekeeper of Information”
Gareth Malna, a fintech lawyer at Burges Salmon, has stated that “The decision by Google to act as a quasi-regulator in this context is a potentially troubling development given its vast commercial power.”
“For Google to step in and block that market may sound like consumer protection, but is potentially overstepping its perceived role as gatekeeper to information,” Mr. Malna said.
Do you think that Google and Facebook will reverse their ad bans targeting cryptocurrency in the near future? Or are the restrictions here to stay? Join the discussion in the comments section below!
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