Business 26 September 2018Ed Drake
Google lifts ban on crypto ads for US, Japan regulated firms
Google has unbanned on cryptocurrency ads on its platform, with a view to working more closely with regulated institutions in the United States and Japan.
The decision marks a reversal of the ban initiated back in March, with the company at the time saying the move was designed to limit the harm, or the ‘potential for consumer harm’ posed by the sector. A senior executive at Google, Scott Spencer, was quoted at the time as saying the firm was taking pre-emptive action with the ads ban to protect consumers.
According to Spencer, “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.”
However, the move was widely criticised, including amongst key voices in the financial sector.
Philip Nunn, CEO of Manchester investment company Blackmore Group, said the blanket ban was too heavy handed an approach, especially in light of other types of ads still running on Google’s ad platform.
“I understand that Facebook and Google are under a lot of pressure to regulate what their users are reading, but they are still advertising gambling websites and other unethical practices,” Nunn told UK’s The Independent. “Unfortunately, the fact that this ban is a blanket ban will mean that legitimate cryptocurrency businesses which provide valuable services to users will be unfairly caught in the crossfire.”
Now, with regulated companies invited back onto the ads platform, the expectation is that legitimate cryptocurrency businesses will now be permitted to advertise on Google and related services.
According to CNBC, the decision comes into effect from October, with companies required to demonstrate regulatory approval before their ads will be published. Ads will then be manually approved before going live.
While this will initially apply only in the U.S. and Japan, there is the expectation of a wider rollout of the ban reversal internationally in due course.
With Google now rolling back on its previous approach, it remains to be seen whether Facebook will also consider similar moves towards embracing regulated cryptocurrency institutions.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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