In a new wave of anti crypto sentiment, Google will be banning crypto advertisements on its platform effective today. Similarly, Microsoft’s search platform Bing, has also announced that it will be dishing out its own ban on crypto advertisements by July. On a tangential note, the Reserve Bank of India has also decided to implement a blanket ban on all cryptocurrency trading as crypto exchanges aficionados grovel for clemency — urging for productive regulation in place of outlawing it altogether.
The stiff ban by Google is self-imposed and follows a pattern of large tech platforms pre-empting regulatory bodies by policing their own platforms. Although the justification of the ban is to protect consumers from scammers prospering on the back of unregulated currency, industry observers have largely decried it; insinuating that it is in fact a thinly-veiled move to protect the platforms’ own future cryptos. Despite legitimate concerns about crypto-fraudsters, which the latter acknowledges, the move further fuels negative perceptions of the ‘crypto-space’ while unfairly penalising legitimate cryptocurrency businesses. Facebook, which was one of the first companies to prohibit cryptocurrency related content (of which includes ICOs, wallets & trading advice) on its ad platform, still struggles to overcome conniving marketers from circumventing its filters. Nifty examples include abbreviating the phrase “cryptocurrency” to “c-currency” and interchanging “o” in the word “bitcoin” with the digit 0.
Two months back, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directed all lenders to wind up their bank accounts and businesses with crypto exchanges, giving the former three months to tie up any loose ends. This leniency period is expected to end exactly a month from now, where crypto trading will become effectively illegal within the country. In a desperate efforts to make a case against the ban, Indian crypto exchanges have been sending out letters to the banking regulator; offering themselves up for regulatory scrutiny as well as implementing protocols to safeguard consumer interests. Supporters have echoed sentiments from similar observers abroad that banning it will possibly lead to ‘capital flight’ — in other words, substantial investments leaving the country for greener pastures. The RBI’s ban follows the footsteps of its Asian neighbours, including China and Russia.