After months of controversy, closed YouTube channels, and de-indexed sites, Google has finally changed its policy on cryptocurrency ads.
The Mountain View giant has announced this on its official support page.
From August 2021, Google will update its rules on cryptocurrency-related financial services and products, but currently only in the United States. Advertisers of cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets will be allowed to advertise on Google (and consequently also on YouTube) provided that:
- they are registered with FinCEN as a money services company or a recognised banking entity;
- they comply with “relevant legal requirements” including local regulations;
- the landing pages of the ads comply with Google Ads policies.
Starting on 8 July, Google will publish a form where advertisers can apply to publish their cryptocurrency-themed ads. But there is one detail: the new policy applies to everyone, including those who were already Google certified, whose certification is in fact revoked.
Google’s policy on cryptocurrency-themed ads
Although this may seem like a significant step forward, Google’s regulations are still stringent. For example, sponsorship of ICOs and DeFi services to obtain loans and any service offering the direct sale of cryptocurrency is still prohibited. So too are celebrity endorsements of cryptocurrency or ads on unregulated dApps.
Ads making comparisons between cryptocurrencies, trading charts, financial advice or broker reviews are also banned.
In short, although Google is making progress, the regulation remains strict. The aim should be to protect consumers and prevent them from running into scams or misleading ads.
Google has, in fact, an adversarial relationship with cryptocurrencies. It has gone so far as to close down channels of popular YouTubers (e.g. Tone Vays) because, in its view, they were in breach of policy. Similarly, it has not been able to tackle the fake channels of major companies that offer, for example, fake giveaways, real scams in which many users have fallen victim. That is why both Ripple and Steve Wozniak were forced to take legal action.