There has been a great deal that has been made by the news that Google will be banning cryptocurrency related advertisements.
The most common theme has been those emanating from the mainstream press that it is likely to slow adoption and lead to a lack of awareness of cryptocurrencies. This is actually quite far from the truth.
In fact, these bans by Google are likely to make the ecosystem that much more healthy as only the most reputable and trustworthy content will be presented to users who decide to search for particular topics.
Before we delve into the underlying benefits, lets dig into the background to the ban.
Google was not the first company to implement a ban on cryptocurrency advertisements. That title falls to one of it’s rivals, Facebook. In late January, Facebook was letting its advertisers know that they would be restricting any adds related to crypto.
They didn’t only ban cryptocurrency ads but they also took on the highly suspect Binary Options industry. They would be banning ads that related to these instruments and followed on with their other platforms such as Instagram.
There was a great deal of speculation whether Google would follow suit. In fact, there were reports that the Canadian and US regulators were trying to pressure the search giant to limit these ads on their platform as well.
According to Jason Roy of the Manitoba Securities Commission:
we’re very pleased with Facebook’s decision. My hope is that Google will enact a similar policy, where they specifically name products like binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies.
This is something Google was initially dismissive of as they had already made a number of changes that improved the quality of the advertisers. For example, they were already banning any ads that were intentionally misleading.
Google’s Change of Heart
After a few weeks of intense lobbying from the regulators, Google decided that they would indeed implement a ban on ads that promoted questionable financial products from their ad networks.
In an update to their advertising terms of service, Google stated that they advertisers would no longer be allowed to serve binary options, cryptocurrencies and related products.
There were a few exceptions for those advertisers who were legitimate brokers that wanted to promote CFDs, spread betting or spot forex. They would have to apply for an exemption from Google in order to promote it.
No More Scams, No More Spam
What most people tend to forget is that using Google Adwords has a really low barrier to entry. Any odd bucket-shop broker or ICO can promote their site on the first page of Google simply by buying PPC ads.
Image via Google Search for “ICO”
For example, in the image to the right you have some website that is offering to help companies launch their very own ICO.
For a mere $4,999 they can have an entire cryptocurrrency created for them complete with dashboard, blockchain and the White Paper. A real “complete” service.
Similarly, click bait marketers have actively used these ad networks to promote junk stories of untold riches and secret systems. Is is also known that ICO scams and fraudulent phishing schemes have used the ads to generate traffic.
For those users who know enough about how these ads are served, they will often just skip over the paid ads and will go directly to the organic results. It is known that these ads are often just used to jump past the most relevant results.
At this time, when someone is searching for “Bitcoin”, they will be taken to the page on the original white paper or the main Bitcoin website. They won’t be presented with an add to some obscure ICO offering “limitless gains”.
When someone searches for “cryptocurrrency exchange”, they will not be presented with a fake domain attempting a homograph attack which will harvest their credentials. They will be presented with a well thought out list of legitimate cryptocurrency brokers by reputable industry influencers.
Why this is Good for The Ecosystem
Quite simply, by Google eliminating ads for these keywords, they are effectively making sure that those that are the most susceptible to fall for scams, won’t. They are taking away a stream of revenue from questionable actors.
It also means that these new investors in the cryptocurrency ecosystem won’t be mislead by false claims of quick riches. They will be presented with responsible content that gives them the most accurate information on the market.
If there are far less victims in the cryptocurrency markets, there are far less people who can complain about fortunes lost through bad investments. We won’t read any more headlines about ICOs exit scams that naturally tarnish the reputation of legitimate projects.
In the end, this could be a great move for long term adoption. The less ridiculous ads that people see in their search results and news feeds, the less likely they are to look down on cryptocurrencies.
By only being presented with the best content with the most information, these readers will be forced to learn about the underlying fundamentals of cryptocurrencies and why blockchain technology is so revolutionary.
This create a positive feedback loop for adoption and online information. Serious investors making investment decisions on serious technology.
Keep Calm and HODL On
If the cryptocurrency markets are likely to lose any investors on the basis of fewer cryptocurrency and ICO ads, then that is for the better. Any “investor” that bought into an ICO merely because of a Google ad, should not have been investing.
As the click bait chasing buyers start to subside, the serious adoption of cryptocurrency by the likes of institutional investors can continue. Cryptocurrreny innovation is still moving at a fever pitch and these investors are fully aware of it.
In the long run, just HODL your coins and avoid the FUD that is being perpetuated by the news outlets. They are, after all, also in the quest for clicks with their bait.
Images via Fotolia