Google has updated its AdWords policy on financial products and services to allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise in the United States and Japan.

Around six months ago, Google said that from June 2018 it would ban all AdWords ads for anything related to cryptocurrencies, which included exchanges, ICOs, and even pages offering information about trading.

However, it has now reversed the decision after finding a way to mitigate the potential for consumer harm while still allowing cryptocurrency-related enterprises to purchase advertising, albeit in a limited capacity.

Google Ads policy on Financial products and services – The finer details

In a brief update, Google said that the change to its ads policy on financial products and services wouldn’t take effect until October.

However, advertisers “will need to be certified with Google for the specific country in which their ads will serve.” Applications for certification will open once the policy launches, but Google has yet to disclose the necessary requirements for permission to run cryptocurrency ads.

Google also revealed that the policy will apply globally to all accounts that advertise crypto-related financial products. Ads for coin offerings, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice will still be banned though.

The start of more crypto ad certifications?

From search engines to social media, a number of different online platforms have implemented bans on cryptocurrency-related ads this year, including Twitter, Snapchat, and Bing.

In June, Facebook decided to partially lift its ban, but still asked advertisers to go through a certification process.

But seeing as Google is the internet’s biggest advertiser, with parent company Alphabet generating roughly 86 per cent of its revenue from this source, several other companies could soon follow suit and open up their doors to crypto advertising.

Why has Google gone back on its original decision?

Google’s initial decision to update its financial services ad policy with a ban on cryptocurrency exchanges, ICOs, and other industry-based websites was described as a ‘cautionary response’ to harm caused to consumers by scams.

The search engine giant also said ads for the following would no longer be allow to serves:

  • Binary options and synonymous products.
  • Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice).

Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads for Google, explained: “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.”

Opposing opinions and conflicts of interest?

Attempts to regulate certain aspects of the blockchain and crypto industries have been strongly opposed by the internet’s biggest names.

For example, Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales said: “You can’t ban math. You can’t ban blockchain.”

What’s more, Google’s decision to reverse its ban on crypto advertising could have something to do with the fact that co-founder Sergey Brin is an Ethereum (ETH) miner, which he announced at a blockchain summit in Morocco a couple of months ago.


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