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Google moves to blacklist cryptocurrency, ICO adverts from June

In an official statement, Google has announced its intention to ban all adverts depicting initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice.

While previous reports indicated that Google Adwords users advertising cryptocurrency-related projects and serves had experienced account suspensions and even spontaneous suspensions, Google has now clarified that it will move to ban all advertisement of cryptocurrencies, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), and exchanges on its advertising platforms from June.

The move, which will see such ads blacklisted across Google’s proprietary and affiliated platforms, essentially issues blanket censorship over advertisements pertaining to ICOs, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice.

As Google itself phrases the matter, “such ads will no longer be allowed to serve”.

In February this year, James Roy – a senior investigator at the Manitoba Securities Commission and chairman of Canada’s Binary Options Task Force – suggested that Google should restrict advertisement pertaining to binary options, Initial Coin Offerings, and cryptocurrencies.

Roy’s suggestions came in the wake of Facebook’s similar decision to ban all cryptocurrency advertisements on its core platforms. Violations of Facebook’s new policy would see advertisers banned on not only Facebook’s core app, but further Instagram as well as the company’s Audience Network – which deploys advertisements on other platforms.

The Mountain View giant has not yet issued further clarity to its abrupt change in policy, though the company has made the move amidst increasing pressure from US regulators to crack down on dubious ICO projects as well as renewed emphasis on adherence to tax legislation.

Upon Facebook’s decision to ban cryptocurrency advertisements, the social media network clarified that its policies are “intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices. We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.”

Google will continue to offer a certification program for advertisers who agree to comply with their financial services policy, though such advertisers will need to ‘comply with relevant legal requirements, including those related to complex speculative financial products’ – likely sparking a complex legal endeavor for advertisers around the world.

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