Barely a month after reaching its five-figure mark for the first time, Bitcoin cemented its glory year in 2017 by reaching $20,000. This meteoric rise in Bitcoin value brought it, along with other cryptocurrencies, into mainstream consciousness.
However, that all-time high was short lived, with Bitcoin’s price plunging 30% just days later – confirming the volatile nature of this emerging market. Moreover, as people clamored to get on the cryptocurrency train, its popularity also prompted quite a number of scams.
In one instance, a startup called Prodeum started a cryptocurrency fundraiser before disappearing from the web overnight. Prodeum billed itself as a startup developing a system that looks into using blockchain technology for agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables. As soon as the company raised $11, its website went blank except for the word “penis.”
Some of these fraudulent companies looking to capitalize on the Bitcoin craze have taken to Facebook to promote their products and services. This caused the social media giant to ban any form of advertising that promotes cryptocurrency services and products.
While Google has yet to roll out a special, official policy regarding initial coin offering (ICO) and cryptocurrency, reports coming from the crypto industry suggest that the search engine titan is discreetly following in Facebook’s path.
Is Crypto Being Persecuted?
Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out a new policy that bans ads promoting cryptocurrency, ICOs, and binary options. According to Facebook Product Management Director Rob Leathern, the new policy prohibits advertising products and services “associated with misleading and deceptive practices.”
Leathern says that Facebook wants people to “continue to discover and learn” about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and ICOs. However, many companies advertising similar products and services are not operating in good faith.
The policy, Leathern says, is part of Facebook’s ongoing effort to improve the security and integrity of its ads and make it harder for scammers to gain profit from a presence on its platform.
Following Facebook’s crypto ad ban, Google is apparently following suit. Google has released neither an official policy nor a statement regarding banning ICOs and cryptocurrencies, but worried players in the crypto and marketing industries report a different, significantly darker picture.
Some advertisers using Google Ads confirmed having difficulty pushing for their cryptocurrency and blockchain products and services on the search engine. Some YouTube channels displaying crypto content also claimed being banned from the video-sharing platform.
Moreover, advertisers offering cryptocurrency services reported a sharp drop in their AdWords performance in just a matter of days. In some cases, they even find their ads rejected or their accounts suspended.
And another technology giant, Twitter, is also taking measures after suffering lately from a plague of crypto scams, informing Newsweek that: “We’re… proactively implementing a number of signals to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner.”
Is a Cryptocurrency Ban Underway?
Following the implementation of policies that limit cryptocurrency advertising, some players worry about the possibility of banning cryptocurrency transactions altogether.
In 2015, news spread of China’s plan to ban Bitcoin. While the ban didn’t take place, Bitaccess co-founder Mo Adam admitted that the threat of a ban in China scared those in the crypto market.
Just recently, South Korea has also revealed plans to curb cryptocurrency futures to crack down on criminal activity exploiting this market.
Adam believes it’s impossible to ban cryptocurrency altogether. Bitcoin bans, however, continue to expand as big U.S. credit-card issuers, including Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Citigroup Inc., started halting purchases of cryptocurrencies and declining credit card transactions with crypto exchanges.