Business

Dan Taylor

Canadian regulator calls on Google to ban cryptocurrency, ICO ads

A senior Canadian financial regulator has voiced support for the decision of Facebook to ban advertisements for cryptocurrencies and ICOs, and called for Google to do the same.

Noting that regulators were ‘very pleased’ with the decision from Facebook to ban these ads, Jason Roy of the Manitoba Securities Commission said it was now incumbent on other online advertising platforms to take similar steps.

Roy, who also serves as the chair of the Binary Options Task Force in Canada, said regulators were already engaged in discussions with Google about this type of move, reflecting on how “these types of ads are leading people to becoming victims.”

Speaking to the Times of Israel, Roy’s suggestions that Google follow in Facebook’s footsteps with banning ads for cryptocurrencies, ICOs and also binary options, was positioned as an attempt to protect consumers from bad faith actors.

“There’s just been an explosion of different ICOs and new tokens and crazy offerings. You’re seeing ICOs that are raising large amounts of money and there’s nothing behind them in certain cases, but members of the public are so hyped that they’re throwing money at them,” he said.

Facebook’s ban was announced on Jan. 30, and was announced in a blog post penned by Rob Leathern, who said that while Facebook would remain an important platform for discovering cryptocurrencies, it shouldn’t be possible for potentially misleading ads to reach unsuspecting consumers.

“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith,” according to Leathern.

Comments from Roy and the Manitoba Securities Commission are far from isolated, with increasing efforts at the regulatory level across the world to deal with the rise of cryptocurrencies.

While regulators and lawmakers describe their steps as essential regulation of a potentially risky market, critics of the plans see these efforts as attempts to control or destabilise cryptocurrency markets, and in particular the threat they could pose to the established global financial order.

Still, it remains to be seen whether the regulator’s comments will influence Google to take similar steps to Facebook in outlawing ads for cryptocurrency products.

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