Google bans cryptocurrency advertising
LONDON: Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday it was banning advertisements for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, the latest internet company to clamp down on the sector amid growing concerns about scams.
Google’s action, which takes effect in June and follows a similar move by Facebook earlier this year, sent the price of the best-known cryptocurrency, bitcoin, down more than 10 percent to its lowest in a month.
Interest in cryptocurrencies has surged in the last year as their prices rocketed.
That growth has spawned online advertising used by hundreds of companies trying to raise funds by launching new coins or encouraging people to trade the virtual currencies.
“Improving the ads experience across the web, whether that’s removing harmful ads or intrusive ads, will continue to be a top priority for us,” said Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads at Google, on the company’s official blog, The Keyword.
Under the new policy, Google said it would ban ads for cryptocurrencies and related content such as initial coin offerings, crypto exchanges and cryptocurrency wallets and advertisements providing trading advice.
In January, Facebook Inc said it would ban ads promoting financial products and services tied to cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings because of the risks to users.
Regulators across the globe have warned consumers about the risks of investing in crypto markets, but internet companies are introducing outright bans because they worry there is not currently sufficient protection for consumers.
“If an entity such as Google does not feel comfortable with exposure to these cryptocurrencies then it is right that they don’t promote it,” said Chris Keshian, chief executive of $APEX Token Fund, which invests in cryptocurrency fund managers.
The CEO of the UK arm of Coinbase, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges, said Google’s decision was a positive development that would not dampen demand, although he viewed the ban as too widespread.