Google to Ban Cryptocurrency & Initial Coin Offering Ads from June

Google to Ban Cryptocurrency & Initial Coin Offering Ads from June

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Wednesday night Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced that Google will ban advertisements for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) from June. The move follows similar measures by Facebook in January which banned all advertisements for cryptocurrencies and ICOs - a crowdfunding mechanism using digital currencies - after it decided many of them were being used to mislead potential customers.
"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," the company’s director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, said.
The internet-search giant is also restricting ads for financial products including binary options, a risky derivative with an all-or-nothing payoff. Right now, Google queries for terms like "binary options" and "buy bitcoin" produce four ads at the top of the results. The rise in popularity and price of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies has led to scammers using online ads to promote fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes via online ads. One new tool in the scammer’s arsenal is so-called crypto-jacking or putting lines of code in websites or ads to surreptitiously harness the computing power of the web surfers who look at them. The power is used to mine cryptocurrency, a digital form of money that has no government or central-bank printing it or standing behind it. Google said last year it removed more than 130 million ads that were used by hackers to mine for cryptocurrency. That is a very small percentage of the ads run on Google’s ad network. Google parent company Alphabet makes roughly 84 percent of its total revenue from advertising, so convincing advertisers that its ecosystem is safe and effective is critically important. Google’s banning of crypto ads was suggested a month ago by Jason Roy, a senior investigator at the Manitoba Securities Commission in Canada. According to Roy, Google generates a significant amount of “paid traffic for fraudulent binary options, cryptocurrency, and ICO companies.” Roy turned to Google and asked it to follow Facebook’s lead.
“We’re very pleased with Facebook’s decision. My hope is that Google will enact a similar policy, where they specifically name products like binary options, ICOs, and cryptocurrencies,” said Roy.
The price of Bitcoin was unchanged at $9,113 following the announcement, according to Reuters data.  

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