Google Up in Arms Against Cryptocurrencies

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The California-based transnational is the second biggest player in online ad selling; nevertheless it plans to take measures to curtail the nascent digital currency sector.

In an update to its policies, Google has announced it will ban online advertisements of cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings and "related content" starting in June, which represents a step in line with the broader crackdown on the marketing of the rapidly advancing breed of financial products.

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Facebook, notably, made a similar move earlier in January,  making it the first and largest ad platform to ditch virtual currency ads. Some dodgier businesses, though, managed to find a loophole to bend the new rule by purposefully misspelling key words like "bitcoin." A Google spokeswoman said the company would find a way to deal with such workarounds.

Shortly after Google’s announcement, Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value, dipped about 2 percent, and was trading at $9,099 as of 1:04 p.m. in Hong Kong.

Separately, the ban applies to such risky financial products as binary options, which are a virtual cryptocurrency derivative yielding an all-or-nothing payoff. For now, Google queries for "binary options" and "buy bitcoin" generate results, the top four of which are commercial offers.

The update to Google’s policies was accompanied by the release of its yearly "bad ads" report, in which the corporation calculates the number of malicious and deceptive ads that pop up in its search and video network.

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In 2017, Google reported having taken down a staggering 3.2 billion-plus advertisements. The same year, the European Commission imposed a 2.4 billion euro fine on Google for abusing its dominance in the search engine market. The regulator found that the search giant prioritized its commercial partners, their products and services, when generating query results.

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