Google announced it would start accepting cryptocurrency-related advertisements on its platform after banning such ads earlier this year, according to a report from CNBC today. Lifting the ban will permit cryptocurrency exchanges to buy ads via Google’s platform in the United States and Japan, effective next month.
“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to 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,” Google’s director of sustainable ads Scott Spencer said in an interview.
The search engine giant announced the ban in March this year, amidst Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) craze and other crypto-related activities that made it almost impossible to differentiate between legitimate ventures and fraudulent ones. The search engine giant still intends to prohibit advertisements for ICOs – a fundraising mechanism in which new projects sell their underlying crypto tokens in exchange for Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
The reason why Google is lifting the ban remains unclear. However, it would seem that the company thinks that the majority of negative things associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has faded away. Facebook was the first online company to ban crypto-related ads earlier this year. It, however, lifted its ban on specific types of crypto-related advertisements in June. Facebook still does not allow ICOs and requires the startups to fill out an application to run such advertisements. So Google might be basically going with the same pattern in an attempt to ensure it doesn’t lose out on lucrative ad business.
Notwithstanding its clear dislike for digital currencies, Google has been one of the companies that are involved with the development of blockchain technology. According to a report by CB Insights, Google is the second-most active blockchain investor, behind SBI Holdings.