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Google to Ban ICO, Cryptocurrency Ads in June

Search giant Google has said it will change its financial product policy in June this year, a move that will see advertisements related to cryptocurrency banned.

In a blog post published Tuesday, the company indicated that it will change its existing financial product restriction list in June this year, blacklisting ad content “including but not limited to initial coin offerings (ICO), cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice.”

“Such ads will no longer be allowed to serve,” the blog reads. In addition, the restriction will apply to Google’s both proprietary and affiliated advertisement platforms.

The move comes just a month after social media giant Facebook also announced on Jan. 30 that the company would enforce a new policy that bans advertisements involving bitcoin and initial coin offerings in bid to prevent cryptocurrency related promotions that may deceive investors.

While Google has not explained in details the reasons of such ban, the new policy comes at a time when regulators in the U.S. have been increasingly scrutinizing cryptocurrency projects that tout various investment opportunities and promote through the internet.

The latest moves by Google and Facebook – two of world’s largest internet and advertising platforms – are also in line with U.S. regulators’ effort at both state and federal levels in cracking down ICOs that appear dubious at government’s oversight.

As reported before, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has also issued multiple warnings regarding its increasing effort in monitoring initial coin offerings that the agency may deem as issuing unregistered securities.

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Canadian Official Wants Google to Ban Ads for Crypto, ICOs

A senior investigator at the Manitoba Securities Commission in Canada has said that the country’s regulators are “very pleased” with social media giant Facebook’s decision to ban ads for bitcoin and initial coin offerings (ICOs),

Jason Roy, who is also the chairman of Canada’s Binary Options Task Force, said that regulators have been in conversations with Google regarding their concern that “these types of ads are leading people to becoming victims.”

He suggested that Google should take a similar course to Facebook, and restrict ad content for binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies.

“There’s just been an explosion of different ICOs and new tokens and crazy offerings. You’re seeing ICOs that are raising large amounts of money and there’s nothing behind them in certain cases, but members of the public are so hyped that they’re throwing money at them,” Roy told The Times of Israel.

Facebook announced its ban on cryptocurrency-related ads in a Jan. 30. blog post. The company’s product management director, Rob Leathern, wrote at the time:

“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”

Roy’s comments to the Israeli news site coincide with with more general regulatory chatter from authorities who are increasingly seeking to reign in cryptocurrencies.

On Tuesday, the chairmen of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission testified that ICOs must be treated, and therefore regulated, more like securities than they are at present.

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