Google has announced plans to begin permitting certain kinds of cryptocurrency adverts on its platform from October 2018, marking the end to the sweeping bans it placed on the industry. It also revealed plans to allow regulated crypto exchanges to purchase ads within the US and Japan.
When cryptocurrency began to boom and offerings such as Bitcoin began breaking records, along with all the excitement and wealth it generated, it also spawned a number of bad actors who took advantage of the government's inability to regulate the industry fast enough.
The wave of fraud and scams which emanated from this period is what prompted Google to roll out its ban on all cryptocurrency-related ads in March 2018. Along with Google, the most popular platforms on the web such as Facebook, Twitter and Snap all cracked down on crypto ads, regardless of whether they were legitimate businesses or not.
However, with Google's updated policy, interested parties will soon be permitted to apply for a certification to run ads in the US and Japan. Facebook similarly reversed parts of the ban it put in place in January 2018 and began allowing pre-approved advertisers onto its platform from June 2018.
Despite the about-turn today, from a financial standpoint, it has always been in Google's interest to allow cryptocurrency advertisers onto its platform as its parent company Alphabet garners around 86% of all its revenue from advertising on Google.
Speaking around the time of the initial ban, Scott Spencer, the director of product management and sustainable ads at Google explained that the decision to ban was made purely to protect users: "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," he added.