Google Announces That It Will Ban Advertisements By Cryptocurrencies Such As Bitcoin

Following the lead of Facebook, Google has announced that it is banning advertisements for cryptocurrencies and other forms of digital currency.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced Wednesday that it will ban online advertisements promoting cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings starting this June, part of a broader crackdown on the marketing of a new breed of high risk financial products.

Facebook Inc. took a similar step in January, leaving the two largest web advertising sellers out of reach of the nascent digital-currency sector. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value, pared an advance of about 2% after Google’s announcement, trading little changed at $9,099 U.S. Rival coins Ripple and Ether also pared earlier gains on Wednesday.

In a statement, Google also said that it is restricting ads for financial products including binary options, a risky derivative with an all-or-nothing payoff. Right now, Google queries for terms like “binary options” and “buy bitcoin” produce four ads at the top of the results.

Google’s announced ban on cryptocurrencies came following the release of its annual “bad ads” report, a review of the number of malicious, deceptive and controversial advertisements Google scrubs from its massive search, display and video network. In 2017, Google said it removed more than 3.2 billion advertisements from the Internet. That’s up from 1.7 billion in 2016.

Last year, for instance, Google pulled 79 million ads for luring online clickers to websites with malware. Google is also accelerating a push against misleading content. The company suspended 7,000 customer accounts for ads that impersonated a news article — what Google calls “tabloid cloaking” — and blocked more than 12,000 websites for copying information from other publications.

It’s unlikely that the 3.2 billion advertisements pulled in 2017, nor the coming cryptocurrency ban, will have a serious impact on sales. Last year, Google generated $95.4 billion in ad revenue, up 20% from 2016.