Google to ban Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies adverts

Bitcoins [Photo credit:]

Google, reputed to be the world’s largest digital advertising platform, on Tuesday announced plans to review its advertising policy as it affects certain financial services, including Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, from June this year.

The New York Times reports that the new restriction plan would be applicable on all Google’s platforms, like YouTube, and other third-party websites affiliated to Google advertising business network.

The report said Google explained that the ban will also apply to contents related to cryptocurrencies “including, but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency trading advice.”

When the planned policy review comes into operation, Google would be the second group, after Facebook, to take a drastic decision limiting the adverts on cryptocurrencies on the internet.

In January, Facebook said it would ban all Bitcoin adverts and others seeking to promote other cryptocurrencies in a bid to “stop misleading and deceptive promotions.”

A report by New York Times, attributed to Associated Press, said although its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, expressed interest in digital currencies, Facebook holds a different view that adverts for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies must be curtailed, as they were “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

The report said Facebook’s decision to outlaw digital money adverts followed questions about whether enough was done to protect users of its site from predatory actors.

Facebook had said it made efforts to check misinformation and false news following alleged attempts in 2017 by Russian agents to spread divisive and polarizing messages through its platform.

The report said the “frenzy around Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has raised concerns about scammers using online advertisements to recruit potential marks enticed by the surge in prices for most virtual currencies.”

In Nigeria, media patrons, particularly unsuspecting listeners of radio programmes, have been inundated with regular adverts by promoters of the cryptocurrency and other forms of digital monies.

Most of the messages through paid adverts often invite members of the public to participate in enlightenment schemes by cryptocurrency experts on how to invest profitably in the schemes.

Civil servants and retirees have been the main targets of the promoters of these schemes which has been enjoying huge patronage in most big cities across the country, including Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt.

The regulatory authorities in the financial sector, namely the Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities & Exchange Commission, Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation and others, have on various occasions cautioned Nigerians to be wary of investments in cryptocurrencies in view of their inherent dangers and risks.

Apart from cryptocurrency and other forms of virtual monies, like bitcoin, ripples, monero, litecoin, dogecoin, onecoin and exchanges such as NairaEx, not being legal tender in Nigeria, the CBN said its regulatory mandate did not cover them.

Besides, the CBN has gone further to bar commercial banks from accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment in transactions in Nigeria.

The CBN said the emergence of virtual currencies has attracted investments in payments infrastructure that provides new methods of transmitting value over the internet.

“Transactions in VCs are largely untraceable and anonymous making them susceptible to abuse by criminals, especially in money laundering and financing of terrorism.”

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