Google slaps a ban on cryptocurrency ads

Cryptocurrencies with Google logo

Google has announced that advertisements for cryptocurrencies will be banned from its platform starting in June. The ban not only covers currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, but also related products such as initial coin offerings, cryptocurreny exchanges and digital wallets.

The announcement came as Google is relying on new technology to detect and remove ads that violate policies. The company says it removed over 3.2 billion ads in 2017, and while it does not give a precise reason for the cryptocurrency ad ban, it says it is part of "improving the ads experience across the web."

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Google's new policies are not restricted only to cryptocurrencies, but also various gambling products and services. The ban will affect ads that appear in Google searches, on YouTube, and those that appear in third party mobile apps.

The news was not particularly well-received, with the value of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple all dropping following the announcement.

Scott Spencer, Google's director of sustainable ads, said:

We're constantly updating our policies as we see new threats emerge. Last year, we added 28 new advertiser policies and 20 new publisher policies to combat new threats and improve the ads experience online. This year, we updated several policies to address ads in unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets and contracts for difference (or CFDs). We also updated our gambling ads policies to address new methods of gambling with items that have real-world value (e.g., skins gambling).

In an update to advertising policies, Google introduces the new restrictions on financial products:

In June 2018, Google will update the Financial services policy to restrict the advertisement of Contracts for Difference, rolling spot forex, and financial spread betting. In addition, ads for the following will no longer be allowed to serve:

  • Binary options and synonymous products
  • Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice)

Ads for aggregators and affiliates for the following will no longer be allowed to serve:

  • Contracts for Difference
  • Rolling spot forex
  • Financial spread betting
  • Binary options and synonymous products
  • Cryptocurrencies and related content.

Image credit: Wit Olszewski / Shutterstock

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