Google to Lift Partially Cryptocurrency Ban in The US, Japan

The multinational fintech giant will allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to use paid messages for targeting US and Japanese citizens.

Google has decided to partially reverse its cryptocurrency advertisement ban, the updated policies of the company showed on Tuesday. The search engine will enable government-registered trading platforms all over the world to promote their services in the US and Japan next month.

Exchanges or their advertisement agencies need to pose a certificate from Google with the application procedure for the permit to start once the company launches the new policy in October.

“The Google Ads policy on Financial products and services will be updated in October 2018 to allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise in the United States and Japan. This policy will apply globally to all accounts that advertise these financial products,” Google said.

In June, the US-based company imposed a global ban on all types of cryptocurrency-related advertisements. The decision covered virtual coins and related content, including but not limited to initial coin offerings (ICOs), virtual coin exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and digital currency trading advice. Microsoft’s competitor of Google, Bing also imposed a similar ban in July.

"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, director of sustainable ads at Google, told CNBC in March while revealing the ban.

Google has a different approach towards virtual coins and their underlying technology, blockchain. In June, co-founder Sergey Brin said Google had missed out on the early adoption of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and “failed to be on the bleeding edge” blockchain. Several days later, the company banned digital coin mining applications on Play Store.  The new reversed policy does not cover this prohibition despite reports that several products have managed to survive the measure.

In June, another US fintech company, Facebook, relaxed its cryptocurrency ban by allowing some virtual coins to promote their products if they meet specific criteria. Facebook like Snapchat prohibit ads of ICOs.