According to a recent update to their Financial Services policy, Google will ban all cryptocurrency-related advertising of all types in June 2018.
In a blog post published Tuesday, the firm indicated that it will change its existing financial product restriction list in June this year, blacklisting ad content “including but not limited to initial coin offerings (ICO), cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice.”
It is also noted that the list of products that fall under the ban is incomplete and can be expanded. At the same time, Google will prohibit the advertising of binary options and similar products.
Furthermore, Google also said aggregator and affiliates using Google ads will no longer be allowed to host promotional material related to cryptocurrencies. In other words, Google is effectively disabling crypto-related advertising on its own website as well as third-party websites using its ad products. The ban, a move to effectively stamp out scams in the crypto space, will also impact legitimate or ‘regulated’ companies offering cryptocurrency services.
Speaking to CNBC, Google’s director of sustainable ads Scott Spencer explained the move as a precautionary measure to safeguard consumers.
“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.”
The shift in policy comes alongside the ad giant’s annual “bad ads” report which points to over 3.2 billion ads taken down in 2017 for violating Google’s advertising policies. Google also said it blacklisted 90,000 websites and 700,000 mobile apps in violation of publisher policies.
Google’s ban follows a similar move by ad-rival Facebook which banned cryptocurrency-related advertising earlier in January. Facebook blamed ‘misleading or deceptive promotional practices’ adopted by companies promoting initial coin offerings or cryptocurrencies while updating its “intentionally broad” change in policy that will extend to other Facebook-owned platforms like Instagram. “We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve,” Facebook said at the time.
The latest moves by Google and Facebook – two of world’s largest internet and advertising platforms – are also in line with U.S. regulators’ effort at both state and federal levels in cracking down ICOs that appear dubious in the government’s view.
As reported before, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has also issued multiple warnings regarding its increasing effort in monitoring initial coin offerings that the agency may deem as issuing unregistered securities.