Google brands cryptocurrency adverts 'deceptive' and bans them from search results

Promotions for initial coin offerings, exchange and wallets will all be removed as web giant moves to tackle 'emerging threats'

Joe Sommerlad
Wednesday 14 March 2018 15:30 GMT
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Google has announced it will ban all advertising relating to cryptocurrency products and services from its search engine from June in a bid to tackle "emerging threats".

The company said in a blog post it was cracking down on "deceptive content" including commercials for all and any speculative and unregulated financial products like cryptocurreny exchanges, wallets and initial coin offerings as well as binary options, foreign exchange trading platforms and spread betting sites in a bid to improve the "ad ecosystem" experienced by users.

Facebook came to the same decision in January, snubbing crypto ads across the social media site plus Instagram and Audience Network.

Cryptocurrencies have continued to make headlines this year after an explosion in the price of bitcoin, ether and their kind in the run-up to Christmas, with bitcoin's value spiking at $19,850 (£14,214) in mid-December.

The market is currently valued at $352bn (£252bn), according to CoinMarketCap, with over 1,500 types of virtual coin in play.

"We see Google’s actions as progressive - as long as they continue to keep an open mind and don’t tar all cryptocurrencies with the same brush," said Chris Keshian, CEO of $APEX Token Fund.

"Crackdowns on cryptocurrencies are the best way to weed out irresponsible and fraudulent ICOs and place greater focus on cases against unregistered persons acting as agents, brokers and investment professionals in the cryptocurrency space."

Announcing the change to its advertising policy, Google said it removed 3.2bn ads that violated its rules last year - 100 per second, the company claims, and almost double the number removed in 2016.

"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, Google's director of sustainable ads.

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