Google To Ban All Crypto and ICO Related Ads In June

A recent update by Google to their Financial Services policy will see all crypto-related ads being banned as from June 2018. Just a few days ago, frustrated crypto advertisers took to the Adwords support pages to lament the low number of views on their advertisements. Many claim the recent update played a role in the low views. The search engine giant on the other hand, rebutted this claim saying the update to their Financial Services regulations had nothing to do with the low views.

The newly updated Financial products policy states that cryptocurrency related content will not be accepted for advertisement. The statement is broad and covers most facets of the crypto space, from ICOs to wallets: 

“Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice),”

Financial products policy

The ban will be a sweeping one cutting across Goggle’s ad products and services and other third parties on its vast network. Speaking to CNBC today March 14, Scott Spencer, the Director of Sustainable Ads at Google said:

"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.”

Scott Spencer

Google isn't the only tech giant on a banning spree. In January, social media giant, Facebook banned crypto related advertisements on its site. Facebook said its reason for the ban was to rid the platform of “deceptive promotional practices”.

Governments are also using the same kneejerk reaction of banning crypto-assets and their related entities. Last year, China made it clear it wanted nothing to do withs cryptos or ICOs in the country, banning all related activities. Perhaps, as a result, some persons have claimed that crypto related advertisements have been disappearing from Chinese social media sites.

Just as crypto and ICO promoters have found some way around Facebook ban by using terms such as ‘Bloomchain’ the community will attempt to circumvent the latest Google ban. It is uncertain how severe the impact will be, if not a positive one for reducing the cases of scams in the space.

U.S. Senate Banking Committee Holding Hearing on Facebook’s Libra on July 16

A day after Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, made a statement in which she asked Facebook executives "to come before the Committee to provide testimony" regarding its proposed cryptocurrency (Libra), the U.S. Senate Banking Committee announced that it had scheduled a hearing to discuss the same topic.

On Tuesday (June 18), Facebook announced that it is creating a new "low-volatility" cryptocurrency (a fully fiat-collateralized stablecoin) called Libra (LBR), built-on top of a permissioned but public blockchain called Libra Blockchain. It also said that one of its subsidiaries (called Calibra) is building a wallet (called Calibra) that will let you "save, send and spend Libra". 

Reaction by the French Finance Minister

Within a few hours, the French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, said during an interview on Europe 1 radio that "it is out of the question" for Libra to "become a sovereign currency":

"It can’t and it must not happen.”

According to Bloomberg, Le Maire "called on the Group of Seven central bank governors, guardians of the global monetary system, to prepare a report on Facebook’s project for their July meeting."

Reaction of the Bank of England Governor 

Roughly around the same time, at the European Central Bank’s annual symposium in Sintra, Portugal, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney talked about Libra:

"Anything that works in this world will become instantly systemic and will have to be subject to the highest standards off regulation."

Congresswoman Maxine Water's Statement on Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Announcement

Another thing that happened on June 18 was that Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, issued a statement about Libra:

“The cryptocurrency market currently lacks a clear regulatory framework to provide strong protections for investors, consumers, and the economy. Regulators should see this as a wake-up call to get serious about the privacy and national security concerns, cybersecurity risks, and trading risks that are posed by cryptocurrencies. Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action."

Reaction of the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman

According to Coindesk, earlier today (June 19), Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said during a press conference that Facebook had had preliminary talks with Fed officials before yesterday's Libra announcement:

“You know Facebook, I believe, has made quite broad rounds around the world with regulators, supervisors and lots of people to discuss their plans and that certainly includes us."

Powell did not seem too worried about cryptocurrencies, perhaps because he knows that there is a huge regulatory mountain for Facebook to climb before it can launch Libra:

“So essentially…not too concerned about the central banks no longer being able to carry out monetary policy because of cryptocurrencies or digital currencies... You know, there are potential benefits here, there are also potential risks, particularly of a currency that could, you know, have large application. So I would echo what Governor Carney said which is that we will wind up having quite high expectations from a safety and soundness and regulatory standpoint if they do decide to go forward with something.”

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee

Also, today (June 19), the U.S. Senate Banking Committee announced that it will hold a hearing (“Examining Facebook’s Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations") on July 16 to discuss Libra. No witnesses have been announced yet. According to Reuters, a source in Washington familiar with the matter has said that David Marcus, Co-Creator of Libra, is expected to testify.

This is the same Committee that wrote an open letter on May 9 to Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Facebook, in order to get answers to seven questions about Facebook's proposed crypto-based global payments system.

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