Google Follows Facebook’s Lead by Withdrawing Blanket ban on Crypto Ads

Google is softening its stand on crypto ads. The internet giant from Mountain View, California has published its Oct 2018 policy update, indicating a shift from the blanket ban on crypto ads. However, a few restrictions will still remain in place to prevent advertisers from abusing its platform.

Ban Reversed, but There’s a Catch!

Earlier in March 2018, Google followed the lead of social media giants Facebook and Twitter to impose a blanket ban on all initial coin offering (ICO) and cryptocurrency-related advertisements on its platform. The ban even included ads for services that provide trading advice. Google argued that the ban was necessary considering a large number of crypto and ICO scams that was rattling the industry following the Bitcoin Boom of late 2017.

Google’s director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, justified the move by saying:

“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.”

Expectedly, the crypto space didn’t take kindly to the ban and criticised the company for the heavy-handed manner of handling the issue. They argued that it was unfair to deny legitimate businesses access to the company’s ad platform for crimes committed by others.

However, Google has now updated its Financial products and services policy saying that the ban will be lifted starting this October. However, it’s not going to be an all-out reversal, meaning some of the restrictions previously introduced will remain. For example, the ban on content advertising ICOs and trading advises will not cease for now.

Regulated Crypto Exchanges Exempted From the Ban

The October 2018 policy update for financial products and services states that Google will open up its advertising platform to “regulated cryptocurrency exchanges” so long as their ads target consumers in only two countries: the United States and Japan.

To serve ads in either of these two countries, the advertiser will have to be certified with Google for that specific country. The revamped process is not active yet but is likely to be enforced starting October 2018. Google has also clarified that the policy changes will be applicable to all accounts that advertise financial products.

Google’ new policy on crypto ads follow the same basic principles as those guiding Facebook policies. The social media giant reversed its own blanket ban partially in June 2018 by exempting pre-approved cryptocurrency businesses. The ban on ICOs, however, remains in place to this day.

Rob Leathern, Product Management Director, announced June 26: “Advertisers wanting to run ads for cryptocurrency products and services must submit an application to help us assess their eligibility — including any licenses they have obtained, whether they are traded on a public stock exchange, and other relevant public backgrounds on their business. Given these restrictions, not everyone who wants to advertise will be able to do so.”

The reversal of the original blanket ban was not unexpected from either company as both Google and Facebook are heavily reliant on advertisers for the bulk of their revenue.


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