Google has announced it will ban advertisements that promote cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) starting from June. Google announced the move as part of an update to its policy, which will also ban other risky financial products. The policy states that ads for aggregators and affiliates will no longer be able to display “cryptocurrencies and related content.”
Currently, typing in a search query of “Bitcoin” serves an ad to buy the cryptocurrency at the top of the search results page, though that will change once the new policies take hold. Google’s move mirrors one made by Facebook in January, which also banned all ads for cryptocurrency on the social network. But, Bloomberg has previously noted that Facebook cryptocurrency ads found a way past the ban by deliberately misspelling words, such as replacing the “o” with a zero in the word “bitcoin.” A Google spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company would try to anticipate workarounds like this.
Google notes in a separate blog post that in 2017 the company took down more than 3.2 billion ads in violation of its policies. “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,” wrote Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads at Google.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile and governments are also clamping down on the digital tokens. India has said it doesn’t consider Bitcoin to be legal tender, China is increasingly cracking down on digital currencies, while Korea is planning a bill to ban all domestic cryptocurrency trading.