Google Will Ban Online Ads for Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings

Ads On Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Exchanges, Wallets Banned By Google

Google will crack down on cryptocurrency ads as well as content advertising other "unregulated or speculative financial products", Scott Spencer, Director of Sustainable Ads at the tech corporation, announced in a blog post from earlier today.

Facebook introduced a similar ad ban on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum back in late January.

Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC plans to ban online ads that promote cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings starting from June.

Google's new policy comes with the publication of its annual bad ads report.

The blanket ban will affect all companies with any kind of cryptocurrency-related offerings - even legitimate ones - and stop them from accessing Google's vast ad network, that allows companies to advertise on Google's own websites as well as those of third-party web partners. The company has also updated its gambling ads policies to address new methods of gambling with items that have real-world value (e.g., skins gambling).

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Google's director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, told the Wall Street Journal that the advertising policy update was created to "prevent consumer harm". While Facebook's policy was left intentionally broad in order to accommodate for a growing and evolving list of deceptive practices and keyword terms, Google's advertising changes target specific phrases more specifically.

Unlike Facebook, Google didn't explain why it's banning cryptocurrency advertising, although it does come just under a week after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a statement warning of "potentially unlawful online platforms for trading digital assets". But a Google spokeswoman said the Google's policies will try to anticipate workarounds like this.

Fraudsters have moved into the cryptocurrency space to defraud internet users, and Google said it took down 3.2 billion adverts violating its advertising policies in 2017, almost double the number it removed in 2016.

The internet giant is restricting ads that are for financial products such as binary options, which is a risky derivative with a payoff of all or nothing. That's up from 1.7 billion in 2016.

Google is also cracking down on ads for contracts for difference (CFD), spread betting, and foreign exchange products on its platform.

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