Google to Allow Regulated Crypto Exchanges to Buy Ads in U.S. and Japan

Siamak Masnavi

On Tuesday (25 September 2018), CNBC reported that Google, from October, will end its outright ban on all crypto-related advertising, and allow regulated crypto exchanges to buy ads on its platform in the U.S. and Japan.

On 14 March 2018, Google announced that it had updated its financial services related ads policy to disallow all crypto-related advertising; this included ads related to initial coin offerings (ICOs), crypto wallets, crypto trading advice, and even crypto programming courses. Crypto companies of any kind would not be allowed to advertise via any of Google's ads products. This ban would go into effect in June 2018.

Back then, Google's Director of Sustainable Ads, Scott Spencer, told CNBC:

"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."

What Google seemed to be doing was following in the footsteps of Facebook, which had announced its own ban on all crypto-related advertising on 30 January 2018. Ads that violated Facebook's ads policy would be banned not only on the Facebook app, but also "in other places where Facebook sells ads, including Instagram and its ad network, Audience Network, which places ads on third-party apps."

Google announced today's change in policy via the Advertising Policies support section of its website in a Change Log post titled "Update to Financial products and services policy (October 2018)":

"The Google Ads policy on Financial products and services will be updated in October 2018 to allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise in the United States and Japan. Advertisers will need to be certified with Google for the specific country in which their ads will serve. Advertisers will be able to apply for certification once the policy launches in October. This policy will apply globally to all accounts that advertise these financial products. For more details, see About restricted financial products certification. The Financial products and services page will be updated once the policy goes into effect."

This new policy is applicable to advertisers located anywhere, but the ads can only be run in the U.S. and Japan.

Google seems to be once again copying Facebook when it comes to crypto-related advertising. On 26 June 2018, Facebook announced that it was going to relax the ban it had introduced in January, saying that from this date, it would be allowing "ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers" (while continuing to "prohibit ads that promote binary options and initial coin offerings").

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Crypto Market-Maker Altonomy Receives $7 Million in Funding from Polychain Capital

Altonomy, a New York-based cryptoasset trading, advisory, and asset management company, has completed a $7 million fundraising round from Polychain Capital, a leading hedge fund and venture capital firm.

Co-founded by Ricky Li, a former Manager of Research and Product at the CME Group, Altonomy has also received funding from 7 Blocks.

Additional Capital Will Allow Altonomy to Have More Inventory

Commenting on how the additional capital could help Altonomy’s business operations, Li said: 

As a liquidity provider for altcoins, more funding will allow us to have more inventory, taking larger exposure and managing risk more effectively.

Li added that the extra funding would allow Altonomy’s trading desk to provide better services - as the platform would not need to “put constraints” on customers at settlement.

Funds May Be Used to “Source Liquidity for Customers”

Olaf Carlson-Wee, the Founder and CEO at Polychain Capital, remarked:

As a long-time user of Altonomy’s trading services, it was an easy decision for us to invest in their business when the opportunity became available.

Carlson-Wee, a former Product Manager and Head of Risk at Coinbase, also mentioned that the additional funding would help “source liquidity for customers, regardless of token type, order size, market cap, or whether the asset trades on centralized or decentralized exchanges.”

According to Coindesk, Li had suggested to investors in January 2019 that they “liquidate enough ETH so they would have at least two years of runway.” However, Li is now anticipating that cryptocurrency prices may continue to recover - after enduring a long bear market that lasted throughout 2018.

Altonomy Introduces Cloud Service for Crypto Mining

In addition to providing crypto trading and asset management services, Altonomy introduced a new product last year, called the AltMiner. According to Li, AltMiner’s cloud service allows Altonomy’s bigger investors to mine various cryptocurrencies.

Altonomy’s management claims that the AltMiner has a “superior return profile” with the “newest generation of miners, low electricity costs and a secure hosting site.”

During an interview with CryptoGlobe in May 2019, Lee explained how Altonomy’s crypto trading services were developed and their potential benefits.

One of Altonomy’s main services, called electronic execution, allows mining firms, investment companies and crypto exchanges to “enter and exit positions as an outsourced execution desk.”

As a high-frequency market-maker, Altonomy also provides liquidity for various tokens to several crypto spot and derivatives trading platforms.