Google to ban cryptocurrency advertising

14 March 2018

Google will ban cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) advertising on its platform by June.

The ban affects ads in search results on Google and on its video sharing platform YouTube. It will also impact third-party websites which carry Google ad platforms.

Three major cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple all suffered dips in value as a result of the announcement today.

In a statement published today, Google stipulates that from the beginning of June, it will no longer support adverts for:

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

In order for advertisers of financial products to be allowed on its platform, Google says they will need to meet the following criteria, which also take force in June:

  • Be licensed by the relevant financial services authority in the country or countries they are targeting
  • Ensure their ads and landing pages comply with all Google ‘AdWords’ policies
  • Comply with relevant legal requirements, including those related to complex speculative financial products

These new clauses are additions to Google’s current Financial Services Policy.

Google told Moneywise that it has seen a rise in complex and extremely speculative financial products on its platform in recent times and it is updating its policy to address this. The search engine giant adds that it does not believe enough consumer protection is in place and has therefore taken matters into its own hands.  

The move reflects a growing backlash from major financial organisations and governments to cryptocurrencies. At the beginning of February, Lloyds Bank and Virgin Money both announced they were banning customers from using credit cards to purchase cryptocurrencies. At the end of February, the Parliamentary Treasury Committee announced it was launching an enquiry into the technology. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) meanwhile, warned earlier this year that investors lost £87,000 a day to binary options scams in 2017.  

According to the search engine giant, the organisation has had to remove more than 3.2 billion adverts that violated its terms and conditions in 2017. The company also removed 400,000 unsafe websites, 66 million “trick-to-click” adverts, and 48 million adverts that attempted to fool users into installing unwanted software.

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