In Brief
Starting June 2018, Google will ban all online ads that promote cryptocurrencies and related content. The move follows a similar ban previously announced by Facebook in January, with both companies aiming to make their online spaces safer.

Google has announced that it is banning all ads related to cryptocurrencies. According to The Wall Street Journal, the move comes amid an increased interest in cryptocurrencies, which has led to scammers using cryptocurrency ads to promote fake online schemes.

In a blog post, Google explained the ban will go into effect in June 2018 as part of an update to its financial services policy. Ads related to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice will also be impacted.

“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, Google’s director of sustainable ads, told CNBC.

One such tactic scammers have resorted to using is “crypto-jacking,” in which scammers add new code to websites and ads that enables them to utilize the power of other people’s computers to mine crypto. While cheaper than buying a cryptocurrency-mining space heater, it still comes at the expense of unsuspecting people. 

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Google isn’t the only company to ban cryptocurrency ads. In January, Facebook announced a ban of its own on ads promoting binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency. “This policy is part of an ongoing effort to improve the integrity and security of our ads, and to make it harder for scammers to profit from a presence on Facebook,” said Rob Leathern, Facebook’s Product Management Director, at the time.

Twitter has also stated that they are working on a fix for cryptocurrency scams.

In a previous blog post, Spencer that revealed Google removed 3.2 billion ads in 2017 that violated the company’s advertising policies. That included 66 million “trick-to-click” ads and 48 million ads attempting to convince users to install unwanted, and potentially harmful, software.

Despite the increased popularity of cryptocurrencies, harmful ads and online scams are still holding the currency back, and do nothing but tell people the market is still as unregulated and untrustworthy as ever. Even the blockchain technology that enables it may not be as secure as previously thought. These are issues that need to be addressed if cryptos are indeed to be a big part of the future of currency.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.