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Google to ban cryptocurrency ads

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MUMBAI: In a move that will have far-reaching ramifications for speculative trade of digital currencies, technology giant Google has announced that it will prohibit advertisements promoting any kind of cryptocurrency. The move is in sync with Google’s upcoming financial services policy. Such ads will be banned across the tech behehoth’s products

In a blog post on the company's website yesterday, Google's director of sustainable ads Scott Spencer cited the "unregulated" and "speculative" nature of many of the financial products being advertised. 

Google’s decision mirrors a similar announcement from Facebook earlier this year that reflects a broader push by the advertising giants to rebuild user trust in their platforms. 

Last year, Google struggled to address advertisers' concerns that ads were being run alongside objectionable content.

The ban on crypto-related terms will begin from June this year and will cover search, display and YouTube ads for binary options and synonymous products, cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency trading advice). 

Spencer also stated that the new policy would contain measures to restrict the advertisement of contracts for difference, rolling spot forex and financial spread betting.

The company further stated that advertisers offering the aforementioned features will be required to be certified by Google before they can advertise through AdWords.

To be certified by Google, advertisers will need to be licensed by the relevant financial services authority in the country or countries they are targeting; ensure their ads and landing pages comply with all AdWords policies and comply with relevant legal requirements, including those related to complex speculative financial products.

The company also stated that advertisers can request certification with Google starting March 2018, soon after the application form is published. However, certification will be subject only to select countries.

Bitcoins and other forms of cryptocurrencies have gained widespread popularity in the recent past. They have, however, been shunned as illegal forms of tender. India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley, in his budget speech for 2018, affirmed that the government would do everything to discontinue the use of bitcoin and other virtual currencies in India. He also pointed out that India did not recognise them as legal tender and would instead encourage blockchain technology in payment systems.

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