Cryptocurrencies, such as ‘bitcoin’, have become a lucrative source of income for online entrepreneurs over the past few years. In 2017 alone, the price of bitcoin rose from $830(USD) to $19300(USD), creating overnight millionaires across the world. However, this largely unregulated industry has created many red flags, thus prompting Google to join the likes of Twitter, in banning the online advertising of these cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency is a virtual asset which harnesses the use of anonymity when buying and selling the currency online. One of the most notable cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, hit the web in 2008 after it was created by the anonymous Satoshi. The system works via peer to peer transaction, with the most notable features of the currency being that is an irreversible transaction, works in a decentralised system and is completely anonymous.
Because of the high level of anonymity, however, the online assets have a tendency to be targeted by online hackers and scammers. In October of last year, Cryptocurrency Giza was able to scam consumers out of $2 million USD after a fake ICO (initial coin offering). Scams such as this and others have prompted Google as well as Facebook and Twitter, to question the safety of cryptocurrencies.
Subsequently, as of June of this year, Gooogle will ban all advertising relating to Cryptocurrency, including that of ICO’s, online wallets and trading advice. Google’s director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer quoted; “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 … that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution,”
Google justified this change to its ad policy via its release of the “trust and safety” ads report. It was found that at least 100 advertisements per second are removed from the search engine for violating their ad policy. Furthermore, the parent company of Google, Alphabet, creates around 84% of its revenue from adverts, thus making it a necessity to ensure advertisers feel that the system is comfortable and effective.
However, companies such as bitcoin have created a well known and trustworthy name in the online community. It has created wealth for many of its users as well as boosting economic figures.
Thus I leave you to question whether Googles decision to band all Cryptocurrencies from advertising. Have a few bad apples spoiled it for companies such as bitcoin, or is Google justified in protecting us from potential scammers?