Russian Entrepreneur Sues Google Over Cryptocurrency Ad Ban

Francisco Memoria
  • A Russian entrepreneur has sued Google over the company's plan to ban cryptocurrency-related ads
  • Through the lawsuit, the entrepeneur is looking to get 2 billion rubles (about $35 million) for "moral damages," and loss of profits
  • Experts believe the lawsuit doesn't stand a chance.

Russian entrepreneur Vladimir Orekhov recently filed a lawsuit against search giant Google after the company revealed it’s going to ban cryptocurrency-related ads in June. Through the lawsuit Orekhov is seeking a 2 billion ruble ($35 million) compensation from Google’s legal entity in Russia for causing him and his businesses “moral damages.”

Behind the lawsuit, according to local news outlet Vedomosti, is the fact that Orekhov is an entrepreneur looking to launch his own initial coin offering (ICO). Because of Google’s ad ban, he claims to have “suddenly lost access to potential investors.”

The Russian entrepreneur’s organization has been developing a cryptocurrency ATM network, with a decentralized exchange, mobile wallet, and crypto payment system associated. His ICO was set to bring in $2 million, with the pre-ICO starting in June.

As covered, Google recently revealed it’s going to ban all crypto and ICO related ads in June, as part of its newly updated financial products policy. After the move was announced, the company’s director of sustainable ads Scott Spencer stated:

“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

Moreover, Vedomosti points out that Orekhov is an investor himself. By not being able to find ICO-related advertisements through the popular search engine, he’s said to be deprived of useful information on companies in which he could invest in. The entrepreneur further claims banning crypto ads is an illegal move that violates his rights to receive information.

The lawsuit has been filed with the Zamoskvorechye District Court, and has been registered on March 15. The 2 billion ruble value was calculated based on the projected losses Orekhov believes he’ll have.

Speaking to the Russian news outlet, law firm partner Roman Buzko revealed he believes the lawsuit doesn’t stand a chance. Per Vedomosti, Buzko argued that the entrepreneur can’t force the company to distribute ads, and that commercial claims can’t request compensation for moral damages.

According to him, it would make more sense to try and get Google to recognize its dominance in the contextual advertisement market, and ask for compensation over “legislation on the protection of competition.”

Google’s move wasn’t unique, as social media giant Facebook has already banned cryptocurrency-related ads earlier this year. Reports suggest Twitter may do the same thing, but the company hasn’t yet confirmed nor denied these reports.