Two of China’s most popular websites recently removed cryptocurrency-related ads, according to the South China Morning Post. Per the publication, users who search for bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, or initial coin offerings (ICOs) using China’s biggest search engine, Baidu, won’t find any obvious sponsored posts or advertisements.
Similarly Weibo, a Chinese-language website loosely modeled after Twitter, seems to have banned cryptocurrency-related ads as well.
The ban follows one instituted by social media giant Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s company recently claimed it created the policy to prevent advertisers from marketing “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.” The company’s ban encompassed binary option-related ads as well.
It’s believed that both bans were implemented to protect consumers from scams and the high risks involved with cryptocurrencies. However given the far-reaching scope of these policies, legitimate crypto businesses have also been left out.
This, however, may not be a problem. Sandy Liang, operations manager at Shenzhen-based firm Bitkan, revealed that Facebook is only a channel used to reach newcomers, and that the firm usually uses digital asset news sites to advertise its business. She stated:
“We usually post ads on cryptocurrency or blockchain media. There are a lot of professional choices. Facebook is good for letting newbies know about us. But it’s only one channel. If we can’t use this one in the future, we can use others.”
Liang further added that Reddit and Twitter are good alternatives to Facebook when it comes to reaching newcomers. Bitmain, the world’s biggest bitcoin miner, revealed it promotes its brand using a similar strategy.
Other businesses, such as Hong Kong-based TideiSun, which has been expanding its bitcoin trading operation overseas, don’t advertise on Facebook, but use the platform to communicate with its users.
The move comes after China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), banned ICOs last September, while claiming that as many as 90 percent of them were fraudulent. Other nations, including South Korea, have also banned the fundraising practice.
While some countries are taking a hard stance on cryptocurrencies, others are being careful not to stifle innovation. Saudi Arabia, for example, is looking to regulate cryptocurrencies, and has already revealed a ban is unlikely.