Earlier this year in March, Google announced that beginning June, this month, cryptocurrency-focused promotional content or advertisements would no longer be allowed on its platforms. The blanket crypto ban covers adverts advert for Initial Coin Offerings, wallet services, and exchange services among other related services.
Now that the ban is about to go into effect, the debate about the motives behind it has begun to heat up. While like other media tech companies like Twitter and Facebook, the ban is said to be a reaction to the perceived prevalence of crypto-related scams and fraudulent offers that have lately been on the rise.
Painting All Crypto with the Same Brush?
One of the biggest concerns, especially for startups, is the fact that the ban by Google, in essence, paints a general bad picture of the entire crypto industry. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are an immensely popular means of fundraising for startups and as such, the bad press that will follow is certainly going to make fundraising very difficult for them.
“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,” Ed Cooper, head of mobile at digital banking startup Revolut, said in an interview with The Independent. “A more targeted approach would definitely be preferable: it would seem heavy-handed for example to put a blanket ban on all ads for job postings, anti-virus software or charities just because ads for these products and service are also sometimes used as an entry point by scammers to target consumers.”
Many other stakeholders in the tech and cryptocurrency industries have pointed out that the ban’s motives are quite questionable particularly because it makes it seem like Google might just be overstepping its roles as an objective source of information.
Suspicion of Foul Play
As expected, the decision to ban cryptocurrency adverts is not going down well with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology proponents, some of whom now believe that there is some element of foul play.
“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,” said Phillip Nunn, the chief executive of Blackmore Group, a cryptocurrency investment firm. “I suspect the ban has been implemented to fit in with potential plans to introduce their own cryptocurrency to the market in the near future and therefore removing other crypto adverts allows them to do it on their own terms.”
While this claim is quite frankly believable and fascinating, you might have to take it with a pinch of salt especially because there are a number of antitrust laws that make it unjustifiable. This should, however, not be the point of focus – it is clear that the inevitable legitimization of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies has begun taking shape hence the rush by mainstream tech companies to regulate it. How everything plays out, in the end, is more of a gamble though.