Google has announced that it will ban ads that promote cryptocurrencies and initial coin offers (ICO) starting in June. Google announced the change as part of an update to its policy, which will also ban other risky financial products. The policy states that ads for aggregators and affiliates will no longer be able to display "cryptocurrencies and related content."
Currently, writing a search query for "Bitcoin" serves an ad to buy the cryptocurrency at the top of the search results page, although that will change once the new policies take root. Google's move reflects one made by Facebook in January, which also banned all cryptocurrency ads in the social network. However, Bloomberg noted earlier that Facebook's cryptocurrency ads found a way to overcome the ban by omitting words, such as replacing the "o" with a zero in the word "bitcoin." A Google spokesman told Bloomberg that the company would try to anticipate solutions like this one.
Google notes in a separate blog post that in 2017 the company eliminated more than 3.2 billion ads in violation of its policies. "Improving the experience of ads on the web, whether to eliminate harmful ads or intrusive ads, will remain a priority for us," wrote Scott Spencer, director of sustainable advertising at Google.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile and governments are also taking drastic measures against digital tokens. India has said it does not consider Bitcoin to be legal tender, China is taking increasingly harsh measures against digital currencies, while Korea is planning a bill to ban all domestic cryptocurrency operations.